Being born and raised in Toronto, I suppose that learning to knit could be seen as an act of survival! I love winter…walking with fresh snow crunching under my feet and the crisp air in my lungs. Of course, winters demand great knitwear, so my two loves work well together.
I learned to knit when I was ten. My aunt really threw me into the deep end…my first project was a pair of socks that used four needles! I was hooked! That was more than forty years ago, and now, I knit and design patterns of my own.
It is interesting to learn about what inspires people. What inspired the author of my favorite book, or that song I can’t get out of my head? But it’s hard to really put my finger on what inspires me.
My ideas come from so many places. The name of my blog, JumperCablesKnitting, was born out of my love of Britain. From a nice cuppa to a witty BBC sitcom, there’s not much that I don’t adore from those isles. Their cabled wool jumpers are just beautiful. I love cables and texture, and not just because they keep me warm during long Canadian winters. It is amazing to me how slight variations in stitches can create so many different textural effects.
My other source of inspiration is the yarn itself. I have shelves lined with my favorite yarns. Every yarn has its own personality, in a sense. Its own color, weight, and feel. Many of my designs are inspired by what I think would capture the special qualities of a particular yarn.
It’s important for my designs to be ones that I would like to knit and wear. The process of knitting something has to be enjoyable; it can’t just be about the end product. For me, this means a project that is easily memorized and fairly portable, whether it’s knitting on the deck while my dog plays in the yard, or on a long drive.
The other thing that’s really important to me is to create things that can be worn by anyone. It’s hard enough to find the perfect pair of jeans, so if you’re going to be investing the time and energy to make something from scratch, it should look great!
Lastly, I think about how the garment is going to be used. I’m pretty casual, and my designs can be worn casually, or dressed up. I throw on Calla and Bella a lot as I’m heading out the door. They are quick to put on, which my dog appreciates when he is waiting for his walk.
All photos © Annie Baker.