I truly believe that inspiration is everywhere: in music, food, fashion, nature, my kids artwork, a favourite t-shirt.... If I ever feel uninspired I just remind myself that it's everywhere and to open my eyes, take a few breaths and breathe it in. Typically my mind is overflowing with so many ideas. I am constantly thinking of knitting and colours.
It can actually be really difficult for me to keep up and turn my ideas into reality as fast as they come to me. I always have some type of notebook or agenda (I am currently going through a mild Filofax obsession) nearby so I can write ideas down as they come. I keep a notebook on my bed-side table because I do some of my best thinking when I can't sleep at night.
Luckily I live in a beautiful part of Canada and I am fascinated by nature. I get a lot of inspiration from being outside. I love traveling through Northern Ontario and being inspired by the rocks, trees, flowers and even the four distinct seasons we have. I often use these for motivation in my colourways.
I am known for my love of the colour grey. I know it can be seen as a one directional, simple colour to some, but when I see grey I see it from about eight different angles and with so many layers to it. To me grey is an amazing colour because it can read as a neutral or be the main focus depending on the shades and what you do with it. I am so pleased with my NBK Grey Club. The support and feedback have been outstanding.
But don't get me wrong, I’m also hugely inspired by colour and have repeatable colourways that are as vibrant as it comes. I am constantly saving images online and taking pictures with my phone outside for colour inspiration. I really enjoy combining colours in unconventional ways and the simple act of playing with colour in my studio when I dye skeins inspires a lot of ideas for me. And often, for me, if something has the potential for failure it gets my creativity and heart pumping and I get motivated.
For example, I was really intimidated to launch my Speckled Yarn Club because I was worried that my speckled yarn wouldn’t be as good as other dyers. There is a lot of beautiful work out there! That intimidation gave me the extra push to go for it, and as I was in the process of nervously speckling my first skeins I realized that my speckles are never going to be like someone else’s. This realization helped me a lot with the ‘specklefear’ and made me appreciate the beauty of it. And now I have created some speckled yarn that I am quite pleased with.
What is really special about dyeing yarn is that I can pass on that inspiration to all the wonderful people who praise my yarn. It means so much to hear reviews of people who truly admire my colourways and I am rewarded knowing that I may also have the opportunity to inspire with whatever they choose to knit with it. This is also true of my knitwear designs. I love seeing the yarn people choose for my Yarn & Pattern Kits. Inspiration for my designs runs through me similar to colour except it is a lot less intense. They are similar in the sense that they both consume my thoughts, but I consider shawl design to be a big part of my down time and selfcare.
Every evening when all my dye work is done for the day, I sit down, relax and I knit. It's a freeflow experience for me, like a brain dump on needles. I will often grab some yarn along with an idea in my head and simply cast on and let it flow out of me. Sometimes I'm so relaxed about it, I forget to make note of an important design element or pattern instruction!
Currently, I have two new shawl ideas, a couple of summery, light shawl designs and an entire Fall bulky weight accessory collection in the works, in addition to all of the ongoing colourway ideas. It’s definitely a never-ending process.
I have to say, I absolutely love what I do, so that on its own is a source of inspiration for me. I can't imagine my life without NBK. Yarn dyeing and knitwear design are making the best use of my skills and creativity all while making me a very happy and appreciative member of the knitting community. I feel extremely lucky.
To see more of Lisa's yarns and patterns, please visit her website at www.northboundknitting.com.
All images © Lisa Mutch.