Knit & Stitch Creative is packed with inspirational makes and interesting ideas – all the work of a talented bunch of craft designers. We decided to catch up with Emma Wright to find out about her design process and how she got started.
When did you start knitting and what was the first item you ever knitted?
I started knitting in a traditional way. I was taught as a child but never took it seriously until I went to college at 16. I studied fashion and textiles and as part of the course we did a hand knit and crochet project. So I picked up my skills again (it really is like riding a bike) and completely fell in love with the craft and the fact that I could create my own fabric!
Are you self-taught – if not who taught you?
My nan taught me to knit as a child and after rekindling my love as a teenager I then taught myself how to crochet from YouTube.
How long have you been designing knitted garments?
As a born creative, I automatically wanted to create my own designs as a teenager. It involved a lot of trial and error as well as a lot of fails and successes. It was when I was at college that I knew I wanted to design knitwear and that lead me to Nottingham Trent University to do a degree in fashion knitwear and knitted textiles.
What is the most complicated garment you have every designed and made? Do you have a picture of this?
I recently designed a garment for Erika Knight called Songbird. This was inspired by Pythagoras’ theorem, – and I am sure I asked my maths teacher “when will I even use this out of school”? I would also have to say my graduate collection, one of the hardest yet most rewarding things I have ever done. My collection was knit and crochet, and made using only British wool.
Faced with a new design commission, where do you start?
It depends on the project. If the commission doesn’t come with a trend or theme to work on I head straight to Pinterest to get my inspiration. Sometimes the yarn influences the design initially and sometimes I get an idea for a silhouette or an accessory so I will sketch that out and then make a swatch.
How do you decide what the best combination of stitches is?
I often knit two or three swatches for a design before I am happy with the finished selection or the placement of the stitches I am working with. I think that seeing swatches of the stitches together makes a big difference as you can decide on proportion, colour and layout while seeing things from a visual perspective.
How do you choose colours? (Do you have a theory about colour selection?)
If I am sent a selection of yarns to design with it’s only natural that I reach for my favourite colours first. I love colour theory and have taught workshops on choosing colour combinations for a project, but we all have a favourite though don’t we!
Can you also choose your favourite Knit and Stitch make that you designed and briefly describe your inspiration and journey
I think my favourite design has to be the cable shoulder cape (coming in issue 46); it’s definitely a winter staple to make in your favourite colour and wear over your big winter coat – such a Northern thing to say! But anything you can knit to complement your big coat is always a winner in my eyes!