Hi! I’m Lynne. My Ravelry name is GlobalWarming
How did you learn to knit/crochet?
My mother bought me The Complete Encyclopedia of Needlework when I was pretty young. Needlepoint, crossstitch, crewel, tambour-work, crochet, knitting—they were all in there. It was the 70s, so my needles and hooks were brightcolored aluminum from Susan Bates, and my yarn was squeaky acrylic in some very unfortunate colors. I kept referring to that book throughout my 20s. Of course, I didn’t always interpret the photographs correctly, so I did a lot of stuff inside out and backwards. But I was having fun, so I kept at it.
That’s the secret, you know? Having fun.
What kinds of things you like to knit/crochet. Why do you like these?
I can have fun with almost any kind of fiber activity: knitting, crocheting, weaving, spinning, wet felting, needle felting. But my favorite? Make it up as I go along. Pick up needles, or a hook, and head off the path, no pattern in sight. Sometimes it works spectacularly. Sometimes the crash-and-burn is equally spectacular. But that’s okay with me.
For garments, I lean toward the spare and simple, in fairly quiet colors that are easy to mix into my decidedly non-fashionista wardrobe. For accessories, I go the other way entirely: I love dramatic colors and textures, and grand scale. I got a little carried away with a beaded shawl recently, and it ended up ten feet across. And you know what? Every time I swoop that shawl around my shoulders, the very extravagance of it makes me smile.
What are your favorite yarns/fibers?
Okay, I was going to give you this very PC answer about how all fibers are good, blah, blah, blah. And sure, they are. But my favorites? Bunny. Love the bunny. Pretty much any yarn with a big dose of angora is going to get my attention. Angora is so soft. So fluffy. Am I a fluff-aholic? Have you met my dog???
And I LOVE Rowan Kidsilk Haze (or crack-silk-haze, as we addicts sometimes call it). I love it as a carry-along with other yarns, I love it doubled, I love it alone. The sheen of the silk, the softness of the kid mohair, the ethereal lightness of the fabric it makes. And the colors—so gorgeous. It’s happiness in a skein. But don’t get me wrong: Plain old straight up wool
would be my take-along to the proverbial desert island. Ave Ovis!! (Hail the Sheep!!)
Who are some designers you like or find inspirational? What do you like about them?
I love Sally Melville for clean, modern, wearable garment designs, and rock-solid pattern writing. If you follow Sally’s instructions, you will get knitting that works, right down to the details. She’s a sure thing. I’ve done some pattern writing myself, and I know how hard it is to achieve that level of clarity and reliability.
I love Debbie New (another Canadian!) for pure imagination. You know the phrase, “think outside the box”? Debbie New doesn’t have a box. She has knit a Blue Willow teacup and saucer. A rowboat (that actually floats). A knitted portrait of her grandmother literally the size of a barn door. Her creativity inspires me to rattle the chains that bind me to “how it’s usually done.”
I love proud Scotswoman Alice Starmore for her hardcore mastery of northern European knitting traditions, and her presentation of those traditions at the highest level of craftsmanship, without dilution or apology. She doesn’t produce designs labeled “quick ‘n’ easy,” but her pattern-writing is so thorough and detailed that, like Sally Melville’s, you can follow Starmore’s instructions with absolute assurance of success. Her work inspires me to create projects of my own that push my technical and aesthetic skills (especially in working with color) to the utmost.
What are your proudest knitting/crochet projects/accomplishments?
Teaching a good class, or a fun, empowering private lesson makes me feel INCREDIBLY good. Years ago I worked with a wonderful woman who could no longer knit (it seemed) because rheumatoid arthritis had damaged her hands. I was able to help her find an alternative way to hold her needles and yarn that worked without pain, and gave her back the joy of knitting. THAT made me proud. And forged a friendship that lasted until she passed away. Creating innovative classes—Like Yarn 101 and Patterns 101—that empower knitters and
crocheters to feel more confident and make more successful choices is also a source of tremendous satisfaction for me.
Do you carry your yarn in your right or left hand?
I’m a leftie knitter, though not left-handed, and not really a classic “Continental” knitter: I don’t “pick.” I hook my yarn around the needle with the tip of my left forefinger. And I march to my own drummer when it comes to purling. But I can carry in my right hand, too. When I first started teaching knitting, I taught myself to knit the other way. It’s really valuable to be
able to show another knitter a technique the way it looks when she does it, in her “native language,” you know? Being able to carry in both hands also comes in handy for stranded colorwork—each color gets its own hand.
When I crochet, it’s hook in the right, yarn in the left. Since I crocheted before I knit, that may have something to do with why I handle my yarns that same way when I’m knitting.
Tell me about your experiences at Crazy for Ewe
Well, this could be a long story. I started as a customer, then became a customer and occasional teacher, then a customerteacher-team member, which is what I am today. The yarns for some of the happiest projects I’ve knit have come from Crazy for Ewe. I really started knitting obsessively about a decade
ago, and discovered Ellen’s shop not long afterward. Crazy for Ewe became a go-to source for really interesting and distinctive yarns—fibers with exceptional colors and textures—that I could mix into the off-road, make-it-up-as-you-go projects that I love.!
And Crazy for Ewe is really where my fascination with Alice Starmore (see favorite designers, above) began. I love books; I was a book junkie long before I became a yarn-aholic. On very short acquaintance, Ellen loaned me her personal copy of Fair Isle Knitting, then out of print and excruciatingly expensive to buy, if you could find a copy for sale. Reading the book was a transformative experience—a real lesson in the level of craftsmanship to which knitting, and writing about knitting, can rise. But perhaps even more meaningful, in the long term, was
the generosity and trust behind the loan of the book itself.
What one piece of advice would you give a new knitter/crocheter?
Have fun. The only really important mistake you can make as a
knitter or crocheter is not to pursue happiness. Hooks or
needles. Smooth yarn or fluffy. Neutrals or brights. It’s all good,
as long as it brings you delight. And if you can share a little joy
along the way? Even better.