Interview with Diana Troldahl

Diana has been with us since the beginning of IDP & has a whopping 9 patterns in the program (including 3 new ones this week!) & more on the way! She been such a fantastic supporter of the program & it’s been great to get to know her over the past couple of months.

How long have you been knitting?

I learned to knit when I was a pre-teen, but I kept forgetting how to bind off. I learned again when I lived in Japan to make a ‘boyfriend sweater’ and if his arms had only been a few feet longer it would have fit just fine! Several years ago when my sister-in-law (Lynn H of Colorjoy Designs) asked me to test knit a pattern from a beginner’s perspective, I learned I had been knitting Eastern-style with twisted stitches. I re-learned to knit continental, and was hooked. Since then, I have been learning something new almost every day and don’t plan to stop any time soon.

What motivated you to learn to knit?

When I was a child, I loved how smooth knitting looked compared to crochet. As an adult, I wanted to make that boyfriend sweater, then, later, after helping my sister-in-law, I was fascinated by the simplicity of the basic stitches, and the complexity of what you can achieve with them. These days I am also designing crochet patterns and love both crafts.

Who taught you to knit?

As a child, both grandmothers, in Japan, I learned from a Japanese book, as an adult, Lynn got me started, and the internet and books took me the rest of the way.

What is your favorite fiber to work with?

I’ve yet to meet a fiber I dislike (with the possible exception of 1970’s acrylic) I love the sproing of the wool, and the butter softness of alpaca. I love any natural fiber, but the arthritis means I need to limit the time knitting with non-stretchy yarns like cotton and silk, unless they are blended with wool or manufactured with a bit of ‘sproing’ to them.

Is there anything in particular that inspires your designs?

Sometimes nature, like the angle of a leaf rib as it joins the stem, sometimes an ancient symbol, like those found on rock carvings. Sometimes I’ll knit a swatch of an intriguing stitch pattern, and it eventually becomes a full design. Sometimes I don’t really know where an idea comes from, it just appears and won’t let go until I jot it down in my ideas file. I love looking through antique pattern and stitch leaflets. Many of my favorite designs have started with re-writing an obsolete stitch pattern.

Who are some of your favorite designers?

Norah Gaughan, Lucy Neatby, Deborah Newton, Elizabeth Zimmerman, Barbara Walker, LynnH of Colorjoy, Marnie MacLean, many many of the IDP members, too.. I am certain there are more, but those are the first who spring to mind.

How long do your designs take to create from start to finish?

Some take years from the initial idea until I finally get the finished pattern the way I want it. Those types often spawn other patterns along the way.

Some take relatively little time. I think the fastest one (for a hat) took less than a day, plus one more day a week later to double check my work.

Usually they take 2 to 3 weeks. As I often work on more than one design at the same time, it is hard to judge.

Kiva Bag

Anything else you would like to add?

In a very real way, knitting has been my lifeline these past few years. Through various rather boring medical issues I can no longer engage with life in the ways I used to, through working at the hospital, or performing in local theater. But with knitting, I can still create, I can still make a tangible hug to send to a friend who needs one. And since I learned to write patterns, I feel a connection to even more people. When someone uses one of my patterns to show their love for someone in their lives, it gives me a deep, warm glow. Yes, it is just a knitting pattern, but to me, it is a way of touching the world. Joining the IDP has changed my life, and continues to change it in ways I couldn’t have imagined a year ago. Thank you so much for providing the program, and for all your support. You folks make a difference.

Thank you so much Diana! Check out all her designs here and we can’t wait to see what new patterns are coming!