We are really looking forward to our fabulously, festive Knitmas evening next Thursday at the Craft Barn. There will be lots of fun Christmas demonstrations from members of the Black Sheep team and an interesting talk from Knit Now magazine Editor, Kate Heppell. We thought we would get to know Kate and Knit Now magazine a bit better before the event with a quick Q & A. Kate has kindly answered a selection of questions below, she has even included a couple of photos too. The ‘Staggered Cardigan’ looks like the perfect kind of cardigan to wear with everything! Not only is Kate the Editor of Knit Now, she also creates incredible pattern designs too.
Describe your magazine in 3 words…..
Inspiring, modern, friendly
What type of things might we find in an issue of Knit Now?
We try to pack every issue full of projects to suit a variety of tastes, so you’ll always find some quick accessories, toys and baby knits as well as stylish garments to fit and flatter – including plus sizes! We also have how-to features, interviews with interesting people, competitions and giveaways. One of my favourite features is the review, where we get a group of real knitters to test out some new yarns and give their opinions.
As the Editor of Knit Now magazine do you often get tempted with all of the new projects in each issue?
Oh, I’m tempted every issue – most of what we publish is there because I want to knit it! Unfortunately though, I don’t have as much knitting time as I would like and most of that is taken up with design work so it’s rare that I ever manage to knit anything from the magazine unless it’s something I’ve designed myself.
How old were you when you learnt to knit?
I was taught to knit at school when I was 11 but I didn’t really take to it. I ended up begging my Nanny and Grandma to finish the teddy bear we’d been told to knit. I knitted a few little things in my teens I was much more into sewing and dressmaking, but I took up knitting again when I was at University and haven’t looked back since.
Can you remember the very first thing you knitted?
Well, there was that teddy bear which I did for school, but I don’t think that really counts since my Nanny and Grandma finished it off for me! I think the first thing I finished was a rainbow-stripe belt with beaded tassels when I was about 13. It was definitely not as cool as I thought it was.
What kind of knitter are you? Do you keep to one project at once or do you have plenty on the go at once?
I’m definitely much more of a starter than a finisher! I’ve got loads of projects in hibernation and unless I’m on a deadline it can take me a long time to finish something because I’m easily distracted.
Do you enjoy any other crafts? If so, what?
I do enjoy sewing, and my colleague Amy (editor of Love Sewing – she blogs at www.almondrock.co.uk) has an infectious enthusiasm for dressmaking, so she’s got me stitching again. I made my pocket money when I was at uni from making clothes out of old duvet covers, so most of my fabric stash is Rainbow Brite, Duckula and Postman Pat though – I should probably invest in some more practical fabric!
Do you have a top knitting tip you would like to share?
When you’re knitting Fair Isle or stranded knits – don’t twist the yarn at the back of your work unless you want a very dense fabric. I see so many patterns which tell knitters to twist the yarn at every colour change and that only applies to intarsia, not stranded knits. Always carry the main colour above and the contrast colour below.
When you get the opportunity to make something for yourself what type of thing do you like to make?
My favourite technique is stranded knitting – I love designing patterns with a colour work yoke or cute colour work hats. The only problem is that I have warm blood, so if I knit myself a wool jumper I rarely end up wearing it!
Are you making anything at the moment?
I’m currently working on a secret project featuring a well-loved children’s TV character so I can’t show you that! But when I go on holiday next week I’ll be taking a pack of Rowan Calmer that I bought from Black Sheep last year – I think it’ll become a comfy cardigan. I think I’m going to knit the Staggered Cardigan from Issue 45 of Knit Now – I’ve been eyeing it up ever since we published it!
What yarns catch your eye? Are you always drawn to a particular colour, fibre or yarn weight?
At the moment, I’m in love with lightweight chunky yarns – so I can knit big cosy jumpers and scarves without them weighing a tonne! There are some great ones out this year like Debbie Bliss Paloma and Rowan Kidsilk Amore.
Is there a yarn brand that you just can’t resist?
It wouldn’t be fair for me to play favourites – every yarn brand I work with has at least one yarn that I love. My favourite fibre to work with is Shetland wool – it’s just so satisfyingly crisp and cosy.
Do you have something that you made or received as a handmade gift that you can’t part with? Something that you will keep and treasure forever?
Way back in Issue 28 we published one of Emma Wright’s first garment patterns – a lovely raglan jumper with a diamond-patterned yoke, knitted in Blacker Yarns’ lovely cosy wool. The sample fitted me and I posted a photo of me wearing it on the shoot in a very cold house up in Rochdale. Emma saw the photo and told me to keep the jumper – it’s stored very safely in a vacuum-packed bag in a suitcase in the bottom of my wardrobe.
On what sort of scale would you say your yarn stash is?
Relatively modest actually! It used to be pretty huge but after a hellish moth infestation last year, I trimmed it right down to a manageable level and packed everything into Ziploc bags – it’s only about 3 medium-sized boxes now.