Today we’re supposed to talk about our knitting or crochet heroes, and I really gave this one a lot of thought. A lot. Some discussion with my mom. A lot of browsing and sifting through my favorites on Ravelry. About a hundred browser tabs open. But you know, I think I realized that I don’t actually have a knitting hero at all. There’s a few knitters I really admire, knitters with the kind of skill that leaves me speechless: most notably, the amazing Jared Flood (of Brooklyn Tweed amazingness, but I prefer the Ravelry link so you can see just how many of those amazing designs are actually Jared’s, not just published under his brand) and Monika from Smoking Hot Needles who never fails to produce knits that are perfectly paired with the most amazing yarns, flawlessly blocked, beautifully photographed, and always knit in warp speed. Those two are the knitters I’d most like to be like when I grow up.
But that’s admiration, a little touch of worship even, but not necessarily inspiration. While they both – and others, I’m sure – do, in a sense, inspire me to greatness, I mostly look at their knits and want to knit the exact same thing, exactly as they did. Inspiration is more about letting your imagination run wild.
In embroidery, I’ve talked about being inspired by the stitches themselves, not necessarily what they are illustrating – I just look at them and can see a world of possibility. And I think that’s true for me and knitting as well, except that instead of stitches inspiring me, it’s all about the yarn. I can’t imagine anything that would capture my imagination more than a room full of beautifully handmade (dyed or spun) yarn, just allowing myself to daydream about what it might all become! If I’m not sure what to do, I will always find myself browsing for yarn on the internet, window-shopping. I’m sure people who catch me doing it must think I’m such a stash junkie, but I swear I’m not really shopping. Just browsing is more than enough to get me thinking about all the ways various yarn might be played with.
So maybe I don’t have knitting heroes exactly, but I definitely do have Yarn Heroes. Dyers, spinners and blenders who I go to most often to admire, who’s yarn or wool I could happily play with for the rest of my knitting life.
I’ve already mentioned Monika from Smoking Hot Needles, who is not just an amazing knitter, but a truly remarkable spinner as well. Every time I see one of her yarns, my fingers itch for my wheel. I don’t get to spin as much as I wish I could, but if anything can get me sitting at my wheel, just looking at those handspun yarns will do it every time.
I’ve also mentioned Katie from Hilltop Cloud, who’s shop I could easily get lost in. She’s the first dyer / batt-maker I’ve found in the UK who’s sense of color really matches what I’m looking for in a spinning fiber. Subtle and rich; I love to imagine how I would spin her wools and what I’d knit them into. I do have some in my stash, so I’m sure they’ll make an appearance here eventually.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be lucky enough to get my spinning hands on some fiber dyed by pigeonroofstudios – it’s not that easy to come by and I’ve never seen a UK stockist, but a girl can hope. I did knit a pair of socks from pigeonroof yarn, and it was as amazing as I’d dreamed it would be. As far as I know, pigeonroof yarns and wools are kettle dyed, which produces a really special and unique effect – every skein seems to have a million colors all blending into one glorious cacophony of color. These are just about the only multi-colored yarns that make me daydream – others mostly just make me worry about pooling and flashing and pattern obscuring. But these, sigh. Even if I can’t get them right now, I still love admiring them.
Lastly, one of my very favorite inspirations, a shop I visit regularly just to take it all in, Dye For Yarn. I haven’t yet been lucky enough to knit any Dye For Yarn goods – yet! – but these are colors like no other, absolutely worth admiring even if it’s just online for now. I could visit daily just to get lost in the colors, textures, and amazing photography.
There are more, but these are the most inspirational to me at the moment. I hope I will be lucky enough to touch, feel, and knit all of these yarns one day but, for now, it’s enough just to dream.