Interview with Lynn Wilson
February 10, 2010 § Leave a comment
Be Sweet: Tell me a little bit about the sweater, Lynn.
LW: The sweater has a funny little story. Last spring Nadine (the owner and founder of Be Sweet) asked me to design a simple cardigan featuring Be Sweet’s Boucle Mohair for her booth at TNNA Columbus. It was sort of a last-minute idea, but I designed and knitted the sweater in record time (well record time for me anyway). I finished it on the Monday before the show, then Cynthia (from Knitting Central in Westport, CT) carried it in her luggage from New York and delivered it to Nadine in Columbus. At the show Carla Scott (Editor of Knit Simple) saw it in the booth and said they’d like to consider it for Knit Simple. So Carla then took my little sweater back to New York. Sort of like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Sweater. Obviously, they decided to publish it.
Be Sweet: How was it working with the Be Sweet yarn?
LW: I love working with Be Sweet yarns and have been knitting and designing with them for about 4 years. Way back when, someone gave me two hanks of Magic Ball and that inspired me to create the 1-Piece Magic Ball Cardigan (which Nadine recently asked me to size up for larger women). It’s a wonderful, versatile yarn that is a favorite. My other favorite Be Sweet yarn is the Mohair – any weight of it. I love the texture and it is the softest mohair I’ve ever found. It’s warm, lightweight, gorgeous and my all-time favorite shawl is knit in the Medium Mohair. I also love the concept behind Be Sweet. As I knit with the yarn I think of the women in South Africa and hope the sweater in Knit Simple sells yarn for them. Sometimes I swear they add a “bit of magic” to the yarn. Other people have told me they’ve felt the same way; there’s just something wonderful about knitting with Be Sweet yarn.
Be Sweet: What was your inspiration for this sweater in Knit Simple?
LW: Inspiration came from two sources. The first was the yarn itself – how can you not be inspired to knit with it? Be Sweet’s Boucle Mohair is so soft, the colors are so fabulous, and the texture is absolutely beautiful. To show the yarn’s texture to it’s best advantage, I designed the garment to have the purl side be the “public side” of the sweater. My other inspiration came from the fact that we wanted a simple-to-knit, basic sweater. I channeled one of my knitting mentors, Elizabeth Zimmermann and created a seamless raglan that is completely reversible. I am a huge, huge, huge EZ fan. When I first began knitting, I read Knitting Without Tears and fell in love with her and her common-sense approach to knitting. To this day, I’ll pop in one of her Knitting Workshop DVDs and sort of “sit & knit” with her. You can’t help but be inspired by this amazingly talented woman.
Be Sweet: How long have you been designing for?
LW: Sometimes I think I’ve been designing almost as long as I’ve been knitting. I remember wanting to change the very first pattern I knitted and rarely knit something exactly as it was written. (More of Elizabeth’s influence perhaps?) I was always altering patterns and soon realized that it was just easier to write my own. About 10 years ago I began to teach knitting and soon was creating technique-based designs to use in my classes. About 5 years ago, I quit my super-stressful full-time job and took Joseph Campbell’s advice in The Power of Myth to “follow my bliss”. With the encouragement of some very dear friends, I self-published some of these teaching patterns and began selling them at my local yarn shop. Knitters bought them and that was when I began to officially think of myself as a designer. Soon after, I met Nadine and she bought several of my designs for Be Sweet’s line. It was an amazing feeling to see my creations in Be Sweet’s pattern collection! Then another great thing happened when Shirley Paden arranged an appointment for me at Sixth & Spring to show my bag designs (and I got to meet Tanis Gray!). I was on top of the world when they published two of my bags designs in Bags Two. That success encouraged me to continue on my path as a designer and knitting instructor. I now design and teach full time and have a growing pattern line (which you can see on my website: www.lwilsondesigns.com) that is sold in yarn shops across the Northeast. I feel so very blessed to have this as my career. It still amazes me that I get to do what I love everyday.
Be Sweet: Thoughts on the sweater?
LW: A few thoughts come to mind about this garment. First, since the garment is knit with two strands of Boucle Mohair, I would encourage knitters to play with color combinations. It would be stunning to combine contrasting colors or to use shades of a color going from a darker shade at the bottom to a lighter shade at the top. Or they could use a contrasting color for the hem, front edges and collar. The yarn comes in such a wide range of colors, the options are endless. Second, buy extra yarn and make the sweater longer, more like a coat. The yarn is very lightweight so it won’t pull out of shape the way many yarns would. Third, consider adding a button or two either at the collar or perhaps at the waist in place of the belt. Last, a bit of encouragement. Knitting with two strands of yarn takes a bit of getting used to, but once you get going, it knits up super-quick.
Be Sweet: Did you like how it was photographed?
LW: Yes, absolutely. Love the belt, love the model, love the setting, love the way they styled the photo. Simply said, as a designer I could not have asked for a better photo of the garment.
And here at Be Sweet, we agree with Lynn! Check out her beautiful sweater in the latest issue of Knit Simple available now, or see it on Ravelry.