March 21, 2011 § 2 Comments
Greetings, readers! Last night around 11PM was the official kick off to spring! The flowers are sprouting, the birds are singing, the lightweight yarns are calling…
We’re going to start something new and feature some of our designers on the blog. First up is Laurie Kimmelstiel.
Laurie creates unique textiles for both hand knitting and weaving. She draws much of the inspiration for her designs from the diverse ethnic makeup of her surroundings while growing up in the heart of New York City. She received an MA in American history from the University of Wisconsin and as a historian has noted a strong connection between craft and American social history. A knitter and crocheter for many years, she has taught the fiber arts to both young and old alike. Handweaving is her other passion, specializing in one-of-a-kind hand-woven tallitot/prayer shawls and other traditional Judaic textiles. She is also the author of Exquisite Little Knits and founder of The Ethelridge Road Knitting Salon.
Her designs reflect a love of fiber and color as she explores the unusual and unpredictable in her creations. She receives special pleasure introducing others to the joy and relaxation found in producing beautiful and exciting handcrafted garments and accessories. She is also an experienced instructor and writer offering workshops and classes around the world on a variety of inspirational fiber topics.
Laurie just finished a headband for Be Sweet in our Handspun Merino that will be included on the new belly band label – FREE!
Be Sweet (BS): When did you start knitting and who taught you?
LK: I actually learned first in the Brownies and then from a friend in Junior High, but I didn’t really take it up until right after college when my mother encouraged me to visit a new local yarn shop. My first project was a cabled wrap sweater and I didn’t even know how to cast on when I began but, I was smitten and haven’t put down the needles since then .
BS: Where did you grow up and what inspired you to pick up knitting in the first place?
LK: I grew up in the heart of Manhattan and it was my mother who encouraged me to take up knitting. My mother was always very creative and sewed all of my clothes and made all kinds of crafts from artificial flowers and later designed beaded jewelry but she never knitted in my presence until about 2 years ago.
BS: Where did you go to school?
LK: I have a BA in American History and Civilization from Boston University and an MA in American History from the University of Wisconsin.
BS: Where do you currently live?
LK: I live in White Plains, New York about 35 miles north of NYC and also have a home in Stephentown, NY about 2 hours north – I do a lot of my design work there where it is very quiet.
BS: What is your favorite fiber and color?
LK: I love almost every fiber, but I am partial to wools and greens are my go to shade.
BS: What is your favorite Be Sweet yarn?
LK: I love the Handspun Merino, but I also love the extra fine and medium weight mohairs in all of those gorgeous Be Sweet colors. The bamboo is also divine.
BS: What kinds of things do you like to design the most? I love accessories, especially hats because they are so portable and such quick knits. I almost always have a hat on the needles, so I can knit anytime and anywhere.
What is your fantasy knitting project (if money, time and gravity wasn’t an issue)?
LK: I really would love to knit some sheer lacey, delicate curtains to hang in all my windows. I imagine them swaying in the breezelike in an old farmhouse.
BS: What is your favorite sweet?
LK: Chocolate, really good Belgian chocolate.
BS: Any advice for people interested in designing?
LK: Knit all the time and don’t be afraid to experiment with unusual fibers. Draw inspiration from the fashions you see and from the colors in nature. I taught all three of my children to knit when they were small and my daughter Rebecca is happily following in my footsteps and is a great knitter!
You can see more of Laurie’s work here.