I have a little bit of a switch-up for you today! Carol Feller is giving a class on cables at Craftsy and I've asked her to come by and tell you a bit about her knitting/designing history!
Her class on Craftsy can be found here, and without any further preamble, here she is to let you know some history! Thank you Carol. :)
"Working as a knitwear designer means that people keep asking me when and how I learned to knit. To be quite honest, I have no clear memory of actually learning! I know that when I was 7 in primary school we must have learned to sew and knit, because I remember sewing on buttons on a small quilted pin cushion and knitting some fingerless gloves. I actually found those gloves (one of them still on the needles!) in my parent’s attic a few years ago, but I could not really remember knitting them.
"What I do remember more clearly is creating clothes for myself and my dolls a few years later. My friend and I used to spend hours and hours drawing outfits in a notebook, and then my cousin showed me how to knit and sew them for my dolls. Then when I was perhaps 10 or 11, I have a very strong memory of knitting a red and white vest for myself in cotton yarn. I remember feeling total amazement at how quickly it could be knit and my pride at wearing it for a school tour (day trip)! (I have a very fuzzy photo of the day so I’m sure that this is one memory that wasn’t just my imagination.)
"Even though both sides of my family have quite a crafty history, it’s really a story about necessity as much as creativity. They simply lived in a time where you had to knit your own jumper (sweater) if you wanted one to wear in the winter.
"My mother’s mother was an amazing knitter and really enjoyed creating something new every year. My mother says that when she returned to school every September the nuns would turn her around to examine her jumper to see what was created this year! My own mother doesn’t enjoy knitting; she always found it too slow. However, when we were small she sewed everything, which usually meant that my sister and I were always in matching outfits (much to my disgust!). In recent years she has stopped sewing; my last memory of her sewing was for the dress I wore after my wedding. I wanted a simple silk shift, and we couldn’t find one anywhere, so she picked up a pattern and sewed one for me. I think that having a parent that is able to do that has a strong influence on you; if you can’t find exactly what you want then you just go and create it for yourself. It takes away the hours of futile searching for the perfect clothing item when you can just imagine it and then make it happen.
"On the other side of my family they were much more practical. My father’s mother worked full time as a teacher and had five children so time was scarce. She also had to knit everyone’s winter wear, but my father remembers her using a knitting machine to do so. When they were grown, my father’s sister actually went on to run a knitwear company and yarn shop. She imported chenille and cotton yarn into Ireland which at the time was very unique (acrylic has a firm hold in the 80s!). Initially she had a factory producing knitwear, and the later she opened a yarn shop in downtown Dublin.
"After my early childhood I confess I stopped crafting for many years. Then, in my late teens I spent a year in an art foundation course where we did a little of everything, but it was textiles that I most enjoyed and excelled in. After that year I found I missed doing academic work and so I left the art college to study engineering. To be honest, neither of these was really satisfying by itself. It was after the birth of my fourth son that I came back to knitting, and I couldn’t believe how quickly it all came flooding back once I started. From there, it was a very short jump into designing (which keeps both the artist and engineer inside satisfied) and I can honestly say I’ve never been happier in my life. I’m one of the luckiest people in the world to be able to work every day with something they love so much!"