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: Josh Ryks


Today’s first interview is with Josh Ryks of Sword of a Knitter.

Josh, modeling Ad Hoc

Josh, modeling Ad Hoc

Who taught you to knit/How did you learn to knit?
I learned to knit from a learn-to-knit kit that came with a book and needles and some notions. I taught myself from that little instruction booklet on some truly horrible acrylic yarn (the stuff was splitty and just awful. My second yarn that I used was much nicer acrylic yarn!) and got going. I remember finding the cast on and knit stitch much easier than the purl stitch. I had to grab a different book for that one!

How did you get started designing?
I started designing after knitting some of Stephen West’s shawls and other “modern” designers that introduced me to the world of color and shaping and new techniques that stemmed from the base techniques of knitting and I understood the structure of it all.
The combinations of color and shape and line and texture hooked me and I actually started thinking that I could do this too. So I did!

What inspires your designs?
I find inspiration in black and white photography, architecture, shadow, and line play. I also love tessellation art and the geometric motifs found ornamenting our everyday.

Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
It really depends! I find that the inspiration comes first, but (depending on the yarn!) the yarn may change everything and become the muse of the piece!

What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
Graphic, clean lines with bright, bold splashes of color and techniques that create texture and color play.

What is your favourite type of item to design?
I LOVE designing shawls! It’s the most versatile canvas we have as designers to push the boundaries of knitting and play around with color, shape, technique, line, texture, shadow, etc. It’s also a fantastic why to show off the amazing indie dyers that make such beautiful yarns!

Do you have an aspirational knit – a complicated/challenging design that you want to knit “some day” when you feel ready?
I do! It’s a shawl concept that I’ve had milling around for a long time and I will one day sit down and tackle the shaping and technical details to get it started.

Your desert island yarn? (if you could only knit with one yarn from now on which would it be?)
That’s a tough question! Hmm… At the moment it would have to be a combination of Neighborhood Fibre Company’s Rustic Fingering weight single and 716knit 716solo neon-tactic tonal color ways. I could be a very happy knitter with that yarn combo!

What’s your “comfort knitting?”
I would say shawl knitting in any shape or form or design is my comfort knitting. For me, comfort knitting is more about the yarn and the colors I’m using more so than the knitting itself.

Which is your most under-appreciated design?
I would say Color Spike. It’s one of my personal faves and the way the cables and short rows and slipped stitches and color all work together is a great shawl that speaks of Josh and his style of knitting.

Continental or English?

What’s the best thing about knitting?
The ability to create something that’s unique, original, and handmade all the while playing with fibers and colors that you can’t get anywhere else!

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other knitters?
Have FUN knitting! Don’t stress about the techniques and any insecurities you may feel about something. Just go for it, have fun, and even if you end up with a mess, have fun and laugh and move on! Knitting is supposed to be fun and make us feel better! So don’t bring stress and obligation into it!

Any knitting/designing New Year’s resolutions?
I am hoping to finish all the mystery designs I have going on at the moment and to publish my second and third collections next year!

View all of Josh’s patterns here. All photos copyright Josh Ryks. All images used by permission.

You can find Josh 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!

posted under interview, Knitting

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