© Marie Greene
It's hard to remember my life before knitting. My grandmother taught me when I was about ten, providing me with scribbled notes of stitch counts for Barbie outfits and baby booties, a few pattern books from the 1940's and double point needles in the smallest sizes. I remember that when she first showed me English style knitting, I said to her, "I don't see why I can't hold the yarn in my left hand — it's a lot faster." I became a continental-esque knitter out of sheer stubbornness and youthful ignorance, and went on designing my own Barbie clothes and small things throughout my teen years. The great thing about learning the way I did was that I didn't know there was anything I should be wary of, so I went ahead knitting things that were a bit ahead of myself, but I didn't know the difference. I think the best gift we can give another knitter is permission to be fearless.
My foray into design came much later, and was — in part — a result of peer pressure. I was working in a yarn shop and wearing pieces I had designed for myself, when customers and friends started asking for the patterns. It's one thing to be able to write something for yourself, and quite another to write it for someone else. There was a learning curve, to be sure, and I refined my style and pattern writing as I observed the way my designs fit on real people in all shapes and sizes (having a large pool of test knitters really helped). It wasn't long before I was able to leave my day job and design full time — something I feel incredibly lucky to do.
© Marie Greene
Many of my design ideas come from structures made of wood, stone and steel — it's all about line and texture for me. You can see the way I used small textural details in minimal designs like Eavesdrop and Beckett. I usually start with a source of inspiration (a steel truss, for example) and translate it into a textural component within my design. Being able to knit on the go is also an important part of what I do, so keeping a design portable is always in the back of my mind.
© Marie Greene
I have a tendency to steer clear of color (my favorite is grey, if that tells you anything), except when bringing in a bright pop of something like this bright apple green in Bentley or the mustard yellow in Ellery — colors so punchy and bold that they work almost like neutrals, matching everything in my grey-black-white-navy closet. I don't get very brave with color, but when I do, I go big or go home, apparently.
I am an advocate of slow fashion, connecting to the land, and understanding my role in the fiber ecosystem. I think there is so much more to what we do as knitters than simply forming stitches and creating fabric. I love being part of an industry that supports the handmade process and empowers creative people to play a meaningful role in their own fashion.
Knit Purl was my first favorite yarn shop when I moved to Oregon, and – in fact — was where I bought the yarn that later became the French Oak Scarf. I love being part of the fiber community in the Pacific Northwest (so many wonderfully creative, generous and kind-hearted people!). Thank you for inviting me to share my design story and be part of the Knit Purl family!
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/oliveknits/Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/marie-greene