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Amanda Clothier

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When did you first start knitting/why?

A few years ago.  I had always wanted to learn to knit, but I had trouble learning how from a book.  I don’t translate 2-D to 3-D.

Who taught you to knit?

Sharon Shoji, through classes at the Knitting Workshop in Chicago.  I took a basic Introduction to Knitting class, 2 project classes, and a sock knitting class.

Do you knit English/American style, German/Continental style, backwards? Left-handed? Eastern cross method? Peruvian-style? please describe.

I knit English/American style.  I am learning to knit with both hands in order to do colorwork, but am still having trouble with it.

Do you have a knitting philosophy, and what is it. What helped you form your philosophy?

I find knitting a very Zen activity.  It was strange.  After I was working on my first
project for  a while, I found that I was very present in the moment.  Finishing it was
very satisfying and helped me feel that I could complete other things.  I find knitting
to reflect where I am in my life at the moment.  If I feel conflicted, then my knitting
tends to get muddled.  I remember one particularly stressful period where I cast on a
sweater FIVE TIMES and still messed up the count.  I finally set it aside and waited a
day or two and then did it flawlessly.

Have you ever taught someone to knit?

I’ve taught a couple people who already knew how to knit at one point.  My cousin, age 10, wants me to teach him at New Years; we’ll see if he still wants to when I go back to Philadelphia for the holiday.

What is your very favorite knitting book and why?

Ask a bibliophile…  I love Alice Starmore.  She’s my favorite designer.  I have a book of her Celtic designs that I just love.  On the other hand, I find my Vogue Knitting book to be very helpful when I’m working on different pieces because it reminds me how to do different things.

Do you knit for a living/have your own business?

Not currently, but I would love to own a few alpacas and to design knitwear.

What projects are you working on now?

I am working on the holiday rush at the moment.  Usual stuff, stockings and baby blankets.  What really excites me are two projects:  one is a shawl I designed myself with several colors and a leaf pattern that winds up the back from the center point.  It’s my first design.  The other is a sweater that has a large number of cable patterns in it.  I am looking forward to learning more about sweater design and also making lots of socks for myself and my husband.

What is your very favorite yarn?

Hands down, kid angora.  I love wool and alpaca too.

What is the best thing you ever knit?

So far?  Until my shawl is done, I’d have to say a lavender ice knitted scarf, in a simple 2×2 rib, using an Anne Blatt kid angora. It is soft and warm and I love it. Angora seems to radiate heat back to you when you knit and when you wear it, which is why I love it. The kid fleece is softer than the adult, which can sometimes be scratchy.

What is the worst thing you ever knit?

Honestly?  A Harry Potter sweater, boat-neck, for my step-son.  He likes it, but I can’t stand it.  It’s acrylic (he’s a young teenager, I need to be able to wash the thing regularly) and it’s Gryffindor colors (red and gold), which is not my favorite.

Why do you like to knit?

I feel like I’m remembering how to knit, not that I’m learning.  It’s like I’ve always been supposed to knit, I just didn’t do it until comparatively recently.  I find it relaxing, oddly enjoyable.  Many people have said to me, I don’t have patience to do that!  I don’t understand their point of view.  It doesn’t require patience!  It would require patience for me to sit and NOT knit, to just sit there and not do anything with my hands.

When do you knit?

Do I have to answer that?  When I’m driving, or asleep.  (Reminds me of a joke:  did you hear about the truck driver who got a ticket for knitting while driving?  The police officer pulled along side him and yelled, “Pull over!”  The truck driver grinned, shook his head, and held up his needles.  “Cardigan!” he bellowed back.)

What is your favorite part of the knitting process?

The actual knitting part.  I don’t really enjoy seaming, probably because I need more practice at it.  I love the knitting part, where you can see the pattern forming and when you have enough on the needles that it practically makes itself.

How long have you been knitting?

Only a few years.

What do you like about our guild?

I poked my head in a meeting a few years ago and saw a room full of women, all different ages and backgrounds.  I was kind of intimidated, but before I could pull away THREE different people greeted me and invited me in.  It was terrific!  I didn’t feel like I was out of place, or that I wasn’t entitled to be part of the club. I couldn’t come for the longest time because of a work commitment, but I’m so pleased that I can now make it on a regular basis!  I’m excited to meet the members at meetings and I still can’t believe we have 275 members!  I figured I’d be taking a knitting class with a bunch of little old ladies, totally out of fashion.  Little did I know I’d be this cool!  (smile)

Do you engage in other Fiber Arts?

Absolutely.  I’ve done needlepoint and cross stitch since I was a child.  My first project was completed when I was ten or so.  I’ve had my work at County Fairs in California.  I do sew, although I want to take some classes and get better at it.  I also want to learn to weave but that’ll have to wait a couple years until we purchase a home.  (I almost bought a floor loom and thought my husband was going to have a heart attack.)  I have done macrame, couture and costume sewing, hand sewing, needlepoint, crewel embroidery, cross stitch, rug latching, and crochet.

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