Raquel

Meet Raquel, originally from Zaragoza, Spain!
After living in Belgium, Seville and Sicily, Raquel moved back to Barcelona with her three cats and her partner. Making things with her hands makes her happy, more independent and closer to who she is.

What are your favorites right now?
Yarn Store: All You Knit Is Love in Barcelona.
Yarn: I like rustic woolen yarns – the stories behind them, the consistency and the smell! Hand dyed are my favorite. We have great wool here in Spain, from León or close to us from Portugal. I am currently working on a piece with the Portuguese yarn Mé-mé 20 from Rosa Pomar from Retrosaria and I am in love!

Why do you knit? I started knitting while living in western Sicily. I was running out of clothes and I couldn’t find a top I had in mind in any of the local shops. So one day, I decided to pick up a pair of needles and make my very first cotton top. From then on, I couldn’t stop. And it was only after a few years knitting, when I realized that being capable of creating an entire garment from raw material to finished item (that can warm me and others) makes me feel more independent and socially responsible. Maybe it sounds cheesy, but it is true. It allows me to decide how I want my knitted items to look like and what materials to use. And the most important thing, if the grid goes dark tomorrow, I won’t be cold!

Most challenging project (and why)? Probably the Cherry Bloom cardigan from Lene Tøsti. This pattern was quite a challenge for me as it required color-work (which I find fascinating and complex) and the steeking technique which I never used before.

What’s your new favorite thing? I would say contemporary dance and natural medicine. I have been focusing on both of them for a while now and they make me happy.


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Daniela

Meet Daniela from Prague, Czech Republic! Daniella is a seller of Ashford spinning wheels and looms for the Czech Republic and Slovakia. She is also a teacher of spinning and weaving. She’s been into anything fiber related since childhood and first and foremost she sees herself as a hand-spinner.

What are your favorites right now?
Yarn Store: Our own! Dalin in Prague. Even though the range of commercial yarns isn’t the biggest, there is still plenty for me to choose from.
Yarn: Definitely my handspun yarn, created to match any project perfectly. Ashford yarns are great quality and when going elsewhere to buy, I usually pick Rowan yarns. Good quality and natural origin is crucial for me, also because of my atopic eczema (for years in passive stage, luckily).

Why do you knit? Knitting perfectly accompanies my love of spinning as it allows my yarns to have a practical purpose. I love the transformation of material into a garment. And of course it’s an amazing time for myself and my thoughts, it makes me feel strongly connected to our ancestors and traditions.

Most challenging project (and why)? In general, any sweater project. I just can’t put aside the thoughts that it’s something too big to finish, although I have finished a few in my life! The joy after is real.

What’s your new favorite thing? Actually, it is something not directly related to my creative side, but it’s helping me in many ways – I have totally got into bullet journaling last couple of months and if there’s anyone in the world reading this, please, give it a try! It’s an awesome way to put so many various pieces of your life together, keeping track of all my creations, and having the space for all the details and ideas.


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Kim

Meet Kim from the USA!
Kim is currently living in beautiful St. Albans, UK, an ancient Roman city with a twice weekly market that has been going for over 1,000 years.  Before moving to the UK seven years ago she lived in the equally beautiful Los Angeles for 25 years where nothing has been around that long. In addition to knitting and crochet Kim loves to cook.

What are your favorites right now?
Yarn Store: Sadly I don’t have a “local” yarn store, and I’d be hard pressed to name one favorite of all the shops I’ve visited around the world. I’m fortunate enough to get into the eclectic and beautiful Loop London occasionally for inspiration, yarn, and trinkets, and when I’m in New York I always pop into Purl Soho to pick up some of my favorite US yarns. When travelling anywhere I always try to check out any local yarn shops and bring back something, (hopefully a local yarn), that I can make into a wearable souvenir of the trip.
Yarn: Whichever one I’m working with at the moment, but always natural fibres.

Why do you knit? My aunt taught me how to knit and crochet as a young girl, but I set both aside for many years. About 20 years ago when I was pregnant with my son I picked up the knitting needles to make a few things for him, but they got set aside again when he was born. When I moved to the UK I picked up my knitting needles to ward off boredom and loneliness as I didn’t really know anyone other than my husband here. I have not put them down since – I am never bored when I have a project, (or two or three), in the works! Now I knit and crochet because I have to…just like a writer needs to write or a painter needs to paint.

Most challenging project (and why)? I love a knitting or crochet challenge, so complicated projects or learning new techniques don’t really faze me. Where I get tripped up is on the second sleeve, so I’d have to say anything with sleeves! Strangely I’m fine with two socks or two mittens, but the number of projects in my basket awaiting a second sleeve is shameful.

What’s your new favorite thing? Wool blend yarns – wool/cotton, wool/linen, wool/silk – I’m trying a lot of different ones. I’m sensitive to some types of wool, so it’s always nice to know I’ll actually be able to wear some of my makes!


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Aidan

Meet Aidan, a Benedictine monk, gardener, and knitter in New York’s beautiful Hudson Valley!

All of these photos were taken at our monastery and retreat house, Holy Cross Monastery.

What are your favorites right now?
Yarn Store: It’s far from local, but I love Tolt Yarn and Wool. I may need to make a pilgrimage there one day.
Yarn: Right now I’m working with Brooklyn Tweed Arbor and loving it. Other go-tos are Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock, my favorite sock yarn, by a large margin. I also love Nurtured from Julie Asselin and hope I can make a sweater with it one day.

Why do you knit? I started a few years ago because, as one of my brothers put it, I needed a winter sport! I spend all spring, summer, and fall in the garden, but I had no creative outlet for the winter. I think I was driving everyone a little nuts with my excess energy. I took up knitting, and then it took me up. Now I knit all the time, even during gardening season. There’s something incredibly spiritual about crafting an object that is both made from the stuff of the earth (animal and plant fibers and dyes) and will be worn by another person (or myself) for warmth, comfort, and beauty. The very slowness of knitting, too, gives the finished objects much more value than they would have if you bought them from a store.

Most challenging project (and why)? For my third knitting project ever, I decided to make the Traveling Cable hand-warmers from Purl Soho. I’d never cabled anything, and they were SO HARD—way beyond my skills at that point. I was too stubborn to give up, though, and I learned a lot. Now I love cabling.

What’s your new favorite thing? Trees, trees, and more trees. I’ve always loved trees, but lately I’ve been learning a lot more about how they communicate and share resources. And I’ve also been planting a lot more of them.


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Amy

Meet Amy from New York, USA!
Amy is a native New Yorker and knitting pattern designer for ladies who love rockabilly style and the 1950s.

What are your favorites right now?
Yarn Store: Purl Soho
Yarn: Madeline Tosh and Quince & Co

Why do you knit? I knit because I love that so many women have been doing this craft for years, putting their love and time into making. I love the way knitting is passed on through generations, and to be a part of that is truly incredible. I also love to customize my own clothing, and there is no better way than to make it yourself.

Most challenging project (and why)? An afghan! Not because the stitch pattern was difficult, but it took real mental endurance!

What’s your new favorite thing? KonMari! As an artist/knitter/lover of vintage, it helps me focus on surrounding myself with things I love so I can be as creative and productive as possible. One thing I want to do next: create a prominent display of my yarn stash in my home!


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Carla

Meet Carla from The Netherlands!
She is a textile arts teacher and a Knitting Guild Association Master Knitter. She is the owner of The Dutch Knitters, teaching classes for knitters in the Netherlands and abroad. Carla has also authored a number of knitting books listed on her blog.

What are your favorites right now?
Yarn Store: De Afstap, one of the oldest yarn stores in the Netherlands, located in the beautiful heart of Amsterdam. The shop is housed in a 17th century building, which adds character to it. I work there one day a week and love the yarn (including Rowan), books and most of all, great colleagues!
Yarn: At the moment it is Shetland yarn in general, but my favorite brand is Jamieson of Shetland.

Why do you knit? Since I learned how to knit when I was 7 or 8 years old I’m fascinated by the fact that this technique can make a piece of fabric out of a ball of yarn. I even dreamed about knitting when I was younger. Even today I’m obsessed with the special qualities of knitting, like elasticity, the way it feels and preserves warmth, the possibilities to make color work and textures and how it can be made seamlessly in every shape you want. But the bottom line is that I love to knit because it is the perfect way to express yourself while in the flow of this relaxing movements of your hands.

Most challenging project (and why)? For the TKGA Hand Knitting Master certification I had to make a Fair Isle cardigan. It had to be perfect! I even went to Shetland and Fair Isle to prepare for making it and to get the yarn. More in general, writing and publishing a book is really challenge, every time. As a self-publisher, I do most things myself, like the graphical design, photos and images, pattern writing, distribution etc, it feels like a big project on which I usually work for about a year (not including the research).

What’s your new favorite thing? Magic Motifs! I discovered this method in the south of Latvia last year, with it you can hide a personal message in your knitting. The original method uses magical squares and birthdays, but I added all kinds of related methods to make your knitwear more personal


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Merethe

Meet Merethe from the Northwest coast of Norway!
Merethe can’t live without her knitting, and after she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Sjogren’s Syndrome (an autoimmune disease), knitting has become her therapy.

What are your favorites right now?
Yarn Store: Enchanted Forest Fibers is an Etsy shop that provides luxury yarns hand-dyed both naturally and with protein dyes in Southern Norway. The owner is a beautiful and generous person who dyes lovely yarn that makes you want to go back for more.
Stjernestrikk is a local yarn shop with a knitting cafe in the heart of the Jugendstil city of Ålesund, Norway. Beautiful people and a good welcoming atmosphere.
Yarn: I LOVE knitting with merino and alpaca. After knitting with Enchanted Forest Fiber hand-dyed merino yarn, that’s clearly my favorite. The yarn is soft and comfortable to knit, the stitches are smooth and even, and the thread doesn’t split. I’m using her yarn for my new design. And in my eyes, the colors are stunningly beautiful!

Why do you knit? Knitting helps me feel happiness and appreciation throughout the day, even when I am in pain. I want to share this experience with other people who have chronic illnesses. Therefore, I design patterns for sale that have repeating stitches that are easy to memorize and give both body and soul a meditative and healing peacefulness.

Most challenging project (and why)? It must be when I was fourteen and knit my first raglan baby sweater with a fair isle pattern.

What’s your new favorite thing? My favorite thing besides knitting and designing is self-development with a spiritual dimension. These easy, although deep, spiritual tools help me make my everyday life with a chronic disease easier to master.


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