Knit and Stitch Creative’s throw is made from lovely, tactile yarns, a soft colour palette and varied, interesting stitches. Here our Deputy Editor chats with Melanie Porter, the designer and creator of your stylish throw.
It’s a dreary, grey Monday afternoon, but the CreaCrafts office is bright and happy. Melanie Porter is visiting us – and her enthusiasm for craft and knitted textures is infectious!
Melanie started knitting at the age of 6 and was taught by her grandmother. She only picked knitting up again at University, where she studied Fashion Design. “I was really interested in 3D clothes,” she says, “arms coming out of random places, that sort of thing. [At the time] I thought I was going to change the world with how people dressed.”
While that didn’t quite happen, an MA in Knitwear Design followed, and in the past 15 years, she’s established a successful business creating bespoke knitted furniture. She was the perfect person to create our unique and beautiful throw, and it was great to chat to her again.
How long did the throw take to design and make?
“It took about 2-3 months to make the final throw. I had just had my second child, so I loved sitting at home and knitting every time my baby slept. Before we got to the stage of making the throw I had made mock-up squares to worked out the textures and colours. Originally, every square was going to have embellishments, but this later became an optional element that was added to the magazine.”
Why did you make the throw reversible?
“I think there’s something so luxurious about a thick, warm and reversible throw. There’s also the appeal that you can put it wherever you like and it will look neat. I’m not the most organised person, and tend put a throw anywhere – and then get annoyed at seeing it on the wrong side!”
What was your process in choosing the stitches for the squares?
“I had to make sure that each square was 12cm x 12cm, and made lots of adaptations and alterations to stitches to do this. I tried out some new combinations and went back to look at a bible book of knit stitches that my Grandma gave to me. There were a lot of stitches I had forgotten about that I adapted for our throw. I had to get some cabling in there too!”
Why are some squares made in the same stitch?
“There’s many reasons for this! It’s one of the best ways to show that even with the same stitch you can get vastly different results. I think it’s important to understand yarn thickness and textures and learning, for example, that you can’t make a chunky hat in fine wool. It’s also a good way of practicing patterns and getting them into your head.”
How did you choose the layout of the throw?
“It was a bit of a puzzle and took a lot of piecing together – do you remember when we [the CreaCrafts Editors, Designers and Melanie] were sitting on the floor? We spent ages putting squares next to each other and seeing what worked! I ultimately wanted to choose a layout that meant you could fold the throw in different ways and see different colour waves. As for the textures of the throw, I wanted to make sure the same stitches weren’t next to each other and that everything was evenly spread, so that it would be consistently tactile throughout.”
The readers of Knit and Stitch Creative have the cushions to look forward to! What was your thought process in making these?
“I deliberately chose not to make the cushions in 12cm x 12cm squares, as I thought it would be fun to do something different in the collection. The cushions are made in stripes instead, and the colour waves complement the final throw.”
And finally: What is your favourite square in the throw?
“This is such a hard question! But I think it has to be the Tulle Stitch square in Aerial Smoke. I don’t know why – I just love it. It was an interesting stitch to do in the fluffy yarn. (Readers – you’ll have to wait a while – this square is in Issue 39!).”
Melanie Porter works as a designer, knitter, author, and spinner. She also contributes patterns to Knit and Stitch Creative Magazine – such as the lovely furniture socks in Issue 9! You can view more of her work at melanieporter.co.uk.
This interview is part of a series where we go behind the scenes of Knit and Stitch Creative. Stay tuned for more.