Note from Sandi: It's not as easy as you think to be a proficient designer in both of the two sister crafts, knitting and crochet. Yes, the two crafts are similar, but each has its own architecture of style that has to be mastered before a design--a successful, beautiful design--can be created.
So when I meet a designer fluent in both knitting and crochet, I'm fascinated by her approach to these similar-but-different crafts. Kristin Omdahl is one such designer, prolific and proficient in producing graceful, beautiful garments with both hook and needles. Today's interview is a look inside Kristin's "bi-craftual," and extremely creative, mind.
Kristin's new book, Wrapped in Crochet, published by Interweave, is available at your local yarn shop, or you can order it here.
Q&A with Kristin Omdahl: Designing in Both Worlds
Sandi: I think many people have seen your beautiful crochet designs in Interweave Crochet (including the cover of Spring 2009!) and may not realize that you're a very talented knitting designer as well. In fact, in the Spring issue of Interweave Knits, we featured a lovely knitted lace shawl that you designed, the Sweet Lily Shawl.
Kristin: Thank you, Sandi! I taught myself to knit 1 month after I taught myself to crochet, 7 years ago. I have been knitting and crocheting interchangeably ever since. I feel very fortunate that I am able to design as much as I do in both crafts.
S: Do you keep a design notebook? At what point do you decide whether it will be knitted or crocheted?
K: I have several volumes of design notebooks
with sketches, charts, notes, schematics and lists. I don’t always get
the opportunity to knit them when the inspiration strikes. I would like
to go back through them one day. Inside, there are many designs I think
should be knit and crocheted! Sometimes a design concept that I
originally created for knitting ends up being crocheted, and vice
versa. Occasionally, I enjoy replicating a design in both knit and
S: I've noticed that you design a lot
of spiral and circular shawls, both in knitting and in crochet. What
are the similarities for you in designing for both crafts, and what are
some of the differences?
K: Textures in nature
heavily inspire my work. The spirals in sea shells are very intriguing
to me. Flowers and the various shapes of different flowers are also
very fascinating to me. Sometimes I think of a shawl as a canvas,
where I can “draw” a geometric design with my stitches. In crochet, it
is pretty easy for me to just pick up my hook and some yarn and
manipulate the stitches as I wish – no chart, sketch or swatch first.
Plus, if there is a mistake, it is incredibly easy to unravel back to
the point in question. In knitting, especially lace, you can’t see what
your stitches look like until the end, and I really don’t like
unraveling knit stitches, so I check my designs with charts and
swatches first. And, I usually don’t make lifelines. I prefer to count
every row. But, I should make life lines.
S: Is there anything you've learned from crochet that carries over to your knitting? How about the other direction?
Absolutely! I learn from both crafts every day. I began creating my own
stitch patterns in crochet first, because I was inspired by some of the
textures of knitting that I didn’t see in crochet. And, now that I have
so many original crochet lace edgings, it encourages me and inspires me
to create new knit lace edgings that look more like the crochet floral
lace I like so much.
Join us Wednesday for a video where Kristin walks us step-by-step through the pretty--and amazingly easy--star design of her Stella Shawl. We'll also have the Stella crochet pattern as our free download this week!
Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.
What's on Sandi's needles? I did it! I finished a pair of socks! My husband is very happy about this, since they are HIS socks. I also worked a bit on a lace shawl and did some spinning.