Eclectic Closet Litblog, Book Reviews & Knitting Designs

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Interview: Olga Wedbjer


Today’s second interview is with Swedish designer Olga Wedbjer of O-knit.

Olga Wedbjer


Who taught you to knit/How did you learn to knit?
I started off with crochet at the age of 9 or 10. During my summer vacations spent at my grandmother’s, I had free access to small hooks, fine cotton yarn, and instructions for small tablecloths in a weekly magazine. Then I moved on to fantasy animals. Knitting came a few years later. I made my first sweater in my early teens, still supported by my granny.

How did you get started designing?
Mainly because I couldn’t find a pattern that resembled the idea I had my head. But it took a while before I actually started writing patterns.

I used to be a product knitter, anxious to finish the garment. Nowadays, I’m more into the process. I love to see how ideas transform from an abstract notion to a concrete piece. To explore ideas and see how they work. Being patient and enjoying the process make it easier. And a lot more fun!

What inspires your designs?
Usually, I have a vision of how the finished piece should look and feel. For instance, a light and airy sweater. Then I work from there and incorporate other design elements to enhance the look and feel I’m aiming for. This could involve accentuating certain body parts – and pay less attention to other parts.

I can also be inspired by a special era, like the 70’s (Pitch), or a particular garment, such as the riding jacket (Prominence). A stitch pattern or a technique can also be inspiring, or the combination of the two, as in Wave me closer. In most cases, the inspiration is a feel and look that I want to transform into a knitted garment.

Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
I would say inspiration, but if I find a fabulous yarn I need to find a way to use it.

What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
This is an interesting question. For garments, fitting and drape are important factors for the look and feel. For instance, I’m not fond of too much extra fabric around the waist. I always incorporate waist shaping in my sweater and cardigans, which accentuates the female figure and helps creating a nice fall, but I usually leave some positive ease around the waist, because, at the same time, tummy hugging garments makes me too body conscious and can be less comfortable over jeans with a belt. I also prefer set-in sleeves for a more tailored look.

What is your favourite type of item to design?
At the moment, sweaters and cardigans. I have ideas for shawls and hats, but they have been put aside for the garments.

Tell me about “Accents in Black and White”, what is the story behind this collection?
I had a vacation in mind, with a set of garments covering different needs: A more casual but stylish tee to wear during the day, a long-sleeved sweater to wear next to skin suitable for lazy evenings, and a figure flattering jacket as a second layer for late dinner out.

Body parts are a central theme in the collection as well. After designing Frontier, I wanted to continue to explore how to use colour for highlighting certain part of the body, such as shoulders and neck, and thus playing down other parts.

Do you have an aspirational knit – a complicated/challenging design that you want to knit “some day” when you feel ready?
Fair isle with steeks. Some day, yes, tomorrow, no.

What is coming next? What’s in your release queue?
I have a sweater in fingering weight yarn almost ready for tech editing, and next in line is a black cardigan with large cables. I know cables in black are considered a no-no. However, I felt a need for a black cardigan, but wanted something more elaborate.

Your desert island yarn? (if you could only knit with one yarn from now on which would it be?)
Tough question! Merino in sport or fingering weight, maybe with some added silk.

Which is your most under-appreciated design?
Maybe my tweed shawls (Rusticity and Romanticized) with lace edges.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other knitters?
At the risk of sounding like a commercial: Just do it! You cannot improve or expand your skills without practicing. Oh, I must add: learn to enjoy re-knitting.

Any knitting/designing New Year’s resolutions?
Not really. Keep enjoying my work.

If you could have dinner with one knitting designer (living or dead) who would it be and why?
To choose just one is impossible. I admire a variety of established designers as well as indie designers, and I would like to gather them all for a dinner party!

View all of Olga’s patterns here. All photos copyright Olga Wedbjer except for the headshot of Olga and Emphasite which are copyright Torbjörn R. 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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