We’ve just released a couple of new pattern collections—Sojourn: A Knit Lace Collection and Best of Knit Picks: Pullovers & Cardigans—and the wonderful Claire Slade has patterns in both! In the Best of collection is a re-release of her adorable Professor Meow, a fan favorite for sure, and her beautiful new shawl Crystallize is in Sojourn:
A fun fact: Claire has had designs on the covers of Knit Picks books more times than any other independent designer! We reached out to Claire to ask her some questions so all of you could get to know her better. You can browse all of Claire’s Knit Picks designs here … there are so many great ones!
Tell us about yourself! I’m Claire; I’m from Colchester in the UK (I live just down the road from a castle). I learned to knit as a child and was terrible at it, I’m left handed and never really mastered how to hold the needles properly. I decided to try knitting again about 10 years ago, and I finally found my own way of holding my needles. I started slowly, designing hats for myself and my children not long after.
Do you have a favorite design you’ve done for Knit Picks? (Or tell us about a few if it’s too hard to choose just one!) I have two favourite designs that I did for Knit Picks—the first has to be Professor Meow, it was my first ever design for KP, and it’s fun which I love. The second is Cymopoleia because I loved the whole design process from inspiration to creating stitch patterns that would represent different aspects of the sea.
What’s your favorite type of stitch pattern to design with? Has to be colourwork. I love being able to work with multiple colours, and stranded colourwork has that addictive ‘just one more row’ quality to it.
What’s your favorite kind of item to design? Probably shawls, because there are just so many different shapes and styles, the possibilities are endless. Though saying that, I have recently been a little bit obsessed with sweaters; they also are a wonderful blank canvas with which to work.
What’s your current favorite Knit Picks yarn to design with? My favourite Knit Picks yarn is Palette; whatever idea I come up with I know that there will be a Palette shade (or usually multiple shades) that will be just perfect. It is also an absolutely great yarn for colourwork—I’ve recently finished two sweaters in Palette, and I was so pleased with the results.
Talk to us about your stash. My stash is probably 50% fingering weight yarn. I love bright colours, so there are plenty of those, but I also really like to work with natural undyed wool, so there are lots of browns and beige and cream too.
What’s on your needles right now? One cardigan, one sweater, and a hat. I try not to have too many WIPs but have to be quite strict with myself to stop me constantly casting on new things.
Do you have a yarn/knitting-related pet peeve? I think my only pet peeve about knitting is how this craft is still so regularly portrayed in the press as being done only by grannies. I love the diversity of people in the knitting community, and I think that needs to be celebrated more.
Any exciting design project(s) you’re working on right now? I am currently working on a cabled cardigan (for Knit Picks) that I love; it has got an interesting collar which I am rather pleased with. I’m also working on another cat-inspired project but that’s still just at swatching stage.
Thank you for answering our questions, Claire! I think I speak for the whole team here at Knit Picks when I say we can’t wait to see your next cat-inspired project!!