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: Anneh Fletcher


Today’s second interview is with Canadian designer Anneh of Shanghai Lily.

Anneh, modeling Clochán

Anneh, modeling Clochán

Who taught you to knit/How did you learn to knit?
I’ve been knitting off and on since I was about five years old, but I picked it up with a vengeance back in 2003. My mom originally taught me to knit with some plastic needles she cut short and then glued buttons on to make the ends. When I was in my teens, the German mother of one of my mom’s friends taught me to knit in Continental style. It didn’t matter that I didn’t speak German and she didn’t speak English, we could still understand each other!

How did you get started designing?
I started designing in October 2013. A few people had suggested I try designing before that, but I never felt like I had any interesting or unique ideas that were worth pursuing. But while I was watching an episode of the British TV show Time Team, I had an idea that really excited me. I designed Caerwent that weekend.

What inspires your designs?
For the patterns I’ve designed for self-striping yarns, I’ve been inspired by shapes and impressions that I get from watching episodes of Time Team. Sometimes a fleeting glance of an interesting geometric shape is enough to trigger an idea. Many of my other sock designs are similarly inspired, in that I will see a shape or motif somewhere, like on a building, and that will set my mind going. Of course, not all those ideas work out!

Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
It depends! I have a huge stash, and lots of that impossible-to-resist self-striping sock yarn. Trying to use up stash was partially the impetus for me to design patterns for stripy yarns. But when inspiration strikes first, I stash-dive to find the best fit. Of course, that doesn’t always work, and sometimes I have to buy yarn to match an idea, which is always fun.

What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
I really want my designs to be simple and interesting to knit. We’ve all knit patterns that made us crazy, and have also knit ones that were fun and intuitive, and were therefore simple. I aim for the latter, so that the knitter will enjoy the process and also like the finished item.

Tell me about “The Black Album”, what is the story behind this collection?
This was completely self-serving: I wear a lot of black clothing, and many mornings when I was getting dressed, I would think “I wish I had more black socks.” (I’m sure I’m not alone in this). Being a knitter, of course “need more socks” meant knitting them myself. But complex patterns stitch patterns get lost in the darkness of the yarn, so I set out to design something that would still be visible, even when knit in black. I ended up having enough ideas for a whole collection!

Your desert island yarn? (if you could only knit with one yarn from now on which would it be?)
There’s no simple answer to this! I love the rich colours of Wollmeise, but would never knit socks from it…it’s just too precious! For socks, any of the hard-wearing “work horse” yarns are my go-to: Regia, Patons Kroy and Kroy FX, OnLine, Fortissima and Lana Grossa are all great sock yarn options that I just couldn’t live without. And then there are the stripy yarns from indie dyers like TurtlePurl, with whom I’ve partnered in the past, where the colours are stunning, and the yarn does all the work for you.

Which is your most under-appreciated design?
In my humble opinion, it is Black Rib, which is my favourite pattern to knit for gifts. It makes a sock that is stretchy and easy to put on, and is not too fancy for those not used to wearing handknits, but still has enough going on to make it fun to knit.

View all of Anneh’s patterns here. All photos copyright Anneh Fletcher. All images used by permission.

You can find Debbie on the following social media sites:

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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Don't Ask Y

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