Way back in March, I came across a Kickstarter for a new knitting book inspried by knitting during the World Wars. I thought it sound like a great idea, since I’m a sucker for that time period, and immediately donated to it…and now I’m excited to see the finished project! The Heritage Collection: WWI & WWII, now available on the Knit Picks website, is beautiful collection of patterns by Rohn Strong – and I was delighted to have the opportunity to talk to him about his work!
How long have you been knitting & crocheting?
For a good while actually. I started crocheting at the age of 6 or 7, so its been about 17 years. As for knitting it has been only about 6 years.
Who taught you to knit/crochet?
Ha! A mean old woman…I say that with love of course! I took classes from an older German woman named Gerhilden. She was a tough teacher but she instilled in me the need to always be perfect in my knitting and to never accept mistakes. I love that about her. As for crocheting…I taught myself! I just started chaining away and it kind of developed from there.
What was your first project?
My very first knitting project was a scarf as well as crochet. I made a ton of them. I think it ended up being something near 17 or 18 in a month. I was hooked (pun intended!!) then I was ‘smart’ and decided to try knitting a sweater from Vogue Knitting Magazine and well…I learned how important gauge was! HA!
Tell us about the Heritage Collection. Did something in particular inspire it?
The Heritage Collection is my labor of love! It is a new and groundbreaking knitting book that focuses on just WWI and WWII knitting. I explore the history and the mysticism behind knitting during those two horrible wars and the patterns that kept our soldiers warm. It is also an ode to my family and the part they played in the war effort. The military is very important to my family, most of my aunts and uncles were in the military and have fought in almost every war. As for inspiration it was really my grandmothers that inspired me. I promised my Nana (my mothers mom) that I would write a book about my Great Great Grandma Dalton. I didn’t know it would take the form of a knitting book, but as I continued to do research on her and the past it just made sense.
How did it all come together?
It was definitely a journey! I begin working on it like most projects…research, sketching, swatching, thinking and so on. Then after about a month of that I went for it. We contacted my favorite yarn companies and asked them to be a part of it and then it was all about working my butt off. All in all the book took about 6 months to write and design. I was able to get the 20 projects knit up in about 2 months with the help of a few talented contract knitters. After I finished the book it was all about the editing and graphic designing.
How long did it take from start to finish?
It took 10 months start to finish…which only 2 of those months was actually knitting!
The photography is gorgeous – can you tell us about the shoot?
I love the photography! Thank you for such a great compliment. I knew I wanted the photography to be the best that it could be. So I hooked up with Harrison Stone of Harrison Stone Photography to help me out. He has some great vision and once we found out models, Lewis Betts and Justin Eckardt, I knew we had it! Just throw in a few yards of vintage fabric and victory rolls and your set!
Do you have a particular favorite pattern?
I love Cordelia. That pattern gives me chills. It seems to be a favorite among many and I have to agree!
I also have to add in Franklin, the comfort afghan. It was originally designed for wounded soldiers and I use it every night. The yarn is so soft and warm…and just happens to be Knit Picks City Tweed Aran!
What’s next for you?
Lots! Next year I have a good number of publications coming out both independently and with some others, which is exciting! Southern Crochet is continuing on and we might even have an issue with some Knit Picks yarn coming soon!
Anything else you would like to add?
If anyone has and questions, comments, or just wants to know what the heck is going on head on over to my website at http://www.strongandstone.com or my blog at http://www.strongandstone.tumblr.com.
I’m so excited to see what Rohn comes up with next – I’ve been working with him a bit on the yarn and I guarentee it’s going to be beautiful!
Also check out the projects on Ravelry (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/the-heritage-collection-wwi–wwii) and if you prefer an actual book as opposed to an eBook, that’s available for purchase here: https://www.createspace.com/4004091.