I want to create something original, that’s really precious. Knitting really attracts me as you have multiple ways to control what the final fabric looks like. I can totally express my designs and ideas. It creates something unique, you can’t find another piece with the same fabric anywhere else in the world.
Knitting is all about it being stretchy, soft and malleable. It made me think about how flexible it is, not just that the material is flexible: you can take it on the train, to a meeting or when you are half-watching your children; in contrast to my sample which is laser cut which is this rigid thing.
I must have been the only teenager hand-knitting socks. I’ve knitted socks for years and years now. I knitted them for myself, I don’t think anyone else wanted any. I’ve been married for 30 years next month, and my husband just will not wear the socks that I knit.
A few years ago I was the only frame knitter left, with 20 machines to use. It takes months and months of practice, slowly building up, to learn how to do one thing and gain control over the machine. I started building up a team of enthusiasts from scratch that’s now up to 7-8 people.
Making my own patterns and working with unusual fibres is what excites me. I like textural design: being able to make a texture on the fabric as you’re knitting it, using things like tuck and slip; or it might be about hand manipulation or short row shaping to change the shape of the fabric.
I had a theme for my foundation show of ‘Miss Havisham’s shed’ as everything I’d dyed looked like old ladies underwear. They all looked frayed and tatty so I stopped knitting carefully and started knitting with abandon.
When I was growing up my parents discouraged me from art, they wanted me to focus on academic subjects so I could become a doctor or a lawyer. I almost feel like I’m rebelling now.
I feel I’m still really learning. It’s been 4 years, but I’ve been on my machine everyday, without fail.