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Interview: Georgie Hallam, Tikki Knits


Today’s Gift-A-Long interview is with Georgie Hallam of Tikki Knits, a designer of new classic pieces for kids and another Australian designer.

Georgie Hallam, Tikki Knits

Georgie Hallam, Tikki Knits

How did you get started designing?
It all began with a 200g of Rainbow gradient dk weight yarn way back in 2007, when gradient yarn wasn’t a very common thing. This ball of yarn was like a magical entity. I HAD to do something special with it. I had to make something amazing with it. I decided to make my daughter Lily, whose middle name is Rainbow, a dress. The only problem was that I could not find a pattern that would do this yarn justice; that would allow the colour changes to sing easily and not be broken by seaming or joins. Some friends on an Aussie based knitting forum I used to hang out on encouraged me to have a go at knitting it on the fly. After lots of ripping and restarting and probably some fairly choice swearing, I managed to create a cute little dress that I loved.

Rainbow Dress

Rainbow Dress

I published some photos on the forum and my blog and was inundated with requests for the pattern, so I wrote it up in the size I’d knit for my daughter. Then I was swamped with requests for other sizes. That was a steeper learning curve. I had some experience with sizing and drafting sewing patterns so I applied some of what I knew from that and from knitting and adapting for my pint sized child, and came up with the Rainbow Dress pattern.

It wasn’t until two years later when I released milo that I felt comfortable charging for my patterns, and even then it only happened because knitting friends convinced me that I should do it. I still remember thinking it would be amazing if I sold 20 or so copies. Given I was largely self-taught, I didn’t really consider myself a ‘designer’. I have to admit it took me years before I was comfortable applying that tag.

What inspires your designs?
Sometimes when I design it is out of need; one of my children may need a new cardigan, beanie, dress or jumper such as my School Cardigan pattern. And initially, that was very much the case. Other times, it might be a stitch pattern that I’m inspired to play with and see where I can work it into something such as with Olearia, Cassia or Summer Festival. Sometimes I even get clear images in my head of exactly what I want to knit. That’s pretty cool. Other times, it might be a shape or line of something or even a colour that catches my eye, there is a whole lot out there to be inspired by. Retro fashion is also a great inspiration, I have fond memories of growing up in the 70s and 80s and the knitwear of that era is something I do remember fondly.

Summer Festival

Summer Festival

A lot of my inspiration comes from the simple question, “I wonder what would happen if I did this instead of that?” I really like to play around with construction and take the known and create it in a new or different manner. A number of my designs have quirky construction elements, such as Griffin where the saddle shoulders are constructed in an all-in-one sort of process, or Jane, where I wondered what would happen if I started with all of the front stitches of the raglan sleeve already cast on. Sometimes, this doesn’t always end as I expect!



Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
It’s definitely the inspiration. However, when I am working with a specific yarn company I do need to alter that process to take into account the characteristics of the yarn.

What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
Simplicity. Timelessness. Seamless.

I love a polished finish and am a bit of a problem solver. There are elements of seamless knitting techniques that leave little gaps or holes that have over the years driven me balmy and it’s been like a personal life quest to fix those things. Underarm holes are the bane of my life, let me tell you. Just quietly, I believe I now have the upper hand without resorting to darning.

I like my patterns to be clear and concise with enough detail so that knitters don’t feel like they’re lost in a sea of abbreviations. I like to introduce my knitters to new techniques that improve their knitting. I think the modern knitter is more adept at exploring new techniques, due to the wondrous teachers on youtube and blogs. They have, and like to have, a wider arsenal of techniques at their disposal. A generation ago most knitters in Australia at least, knit patterns that basically followed a formula and produced the same shapes and then seamed. So while they may have been knitting for years, their scope of experience in terms of what they could do was quite limited.

What is your favourite type of item to design?
Cardigans! I so love a good cardie. And if you look through my catalogue you can see it is the thing I design most. It is also the knitted garment that everyone in my family, including my 6 year old son, wears the most. For our Australian climate, they’re so easy to throw on or shrug off; particularly for active kids.

Granny's Favourite

Granny’s Favourite

Your desert island yarn? (if you could only knit with one yarn from now on which would it be?)

That’s so hard. Even though a dk/8ply weight isn’t probably the most desert island appropriate yarn weight (I’m thinking an island in Fiji – so not strictly desert) it would have to be a dk. That’s my staple go-to yarn weight. As for yarn, hmmm. White Gum Wool or WOOLganics. Impossible to choose between them

What’s your “comfort knitting?”
Stocking stitch sleeves knit in the round on my 30cm addi circulars. I so love knitting sleeves, which apparently makes me a bit weird.

Which is your most under-appreciated design?
Tobias. I love this wee cardie with its cables and pockets. My son looks so cute in it, but there you go; not everyone wants their son to look like a leprechaun.

Which three GAL designs are top of your list to cast on?
I’m looking for some quick knits because unfortunately I still have samples to knit for deadlines.

So I am hoping to knit the Paper Boat Hat by Amy van de Laar, Astrolabe Mitts by Gabriella Henry and Sand Bank by Justyna Lorkowska.

Jane cardigan

Jane cardigan

Continental or English?
English, I can knit Continental and I use it when I work colour work double handed but I’m faster and have better tension when I knit English. My technique is not quite traditional English

What’s the best thing about knitting?
It’s a portable craft. I’m not a good sitter and do nothing kind of person. I don’t last long at a cafe for example and I’m not good at the movies nor just hanging at a park watching my kids play. Having something to do with my hands like knitting, saves a lot of pain and wriggling.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other knitters?

Learn to read your knitting. Be brave with both your knitting and your fixing of mistakes.

Any knitting/designing New Year’s resolutions?
Knit more for myself and find a yarn that agrees with my husband, who claims he is allergic to wool. I’m taking the Elizabeth Zimmermann approach on that one, just don’t tell him 😉

View all of Georgie’s patterns here. All photos are copyright Georgie Hallam, Tikki Knits. 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 in GAL group on Ravelry!

posted under interview, Knitting
One Comment to

“Interview: Georgie Hallam, Tikki Knits”

  1. On November 24th, 2014 at 4:13 pm Eclectic Closet Litblog, Book Reviews & Knitting Designs » Blog Archive » Interview: Rachel Evans of Flame Lily Designs Says:

    […] is so difficult! I have some baby gifts to knit and have just cast on a teeny Rainbow dress (by Georgie Hallam) I’m also thinking of knitting a Baby Vertebrae (by Kelly Brooker) I also would love to cast […]

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