In my previous job life as a bookstore girl (where I lovingly took care of the knitting section), I remember when Toni Carr
's book Knockdown Knits
was released. I immediately snapped it up - it was so much fun to read & such great projects, even for those who aren't roller girls like Toni. (With my incredible clumsiness, I would be a danger to myself & to others!)
Imagine my delight when I started working on IDP and discovered that Toni was already a part of it! Of course I had to do an interview!
How long have you been knitting?
I started seriously knitting about 9 years ago.
What motivated you to learn to knit?
In all honesty, my Grandmother lived all by herself, way out in the country. I knew she was lonely and could use some company, but the fact that she is deaf caused a communication barrier between us, as my signing is awful and her ability to read lips was slipping. I thought having her teach me how to knit and crochet would be a good excuse to spend time with her and give us something to do together that wouldn't highlight a communication barrier. We would hang out and knit together, and she would just talk and tell me stories about her life.
When I got stuck on something, I would point to the part that I didn't understand, and just watch how she did it. I had no idea that I would fall so in love with knitting!
Toni with buddy Widget
What was your first project?
I was a serial starter at first. Bright red poncho got started, then I realized I would never wear it. Then a wristband got started, but never seamed, half a hat, etc. One day I sat down and forced myself to knit a purse with Trent Reznor's face on the front of it. I refused to touch anything else until it was done! A challenging project, but so rewarding!
What is your favorite fiber to work with?
I am a big fan of wools with nice heather tones, or little flecks of color, ala Shamrock! A nice chunky alpaca will also put a big smile on my face! I am not at all a fiber snob, but I've found that the longer I've been knitting, the more appreciation I have for natural fibers like wool or alpaca.
Is there anything in particular that inspires your designs?
My budget inspires me quite a bit! I tend to see things that I want, but can't afford, so I make my own version up! My current hat designing obsession is due to my growing out a layered hair cut. I own a coffee shop, so I always want my hair out of my face, but I still want it to look cute! Since it's still too short to style up and look good, I tend to wear a lot of comfy knit hats behind the counter. Plus hats are the perfect way to turn my boring jean and tee-shirt outfits into something cute and trendy!
Who are some of your favorite designers?
I don't really have one favorite designer. I love so many different things from so many different people, but I'm always so bad with matching a name to a creation.
How long do your designs take to create from start to finish?
It depends. I have one sweater that I've spent the past 4 months working on, and it's not even close to completion. I usually write down my ideas as I get them, pluck one off the list when I'm ready to work on it, then swatch with a lot of different yarns until I find one that will do what I want.Then it's a matter of knitting it up, and writing down what I do as I go.I've created designs in as little as a day or two, but most take at least a couple weeks before I'm satisfied.
Thanks so much Toni! You can see all her IDP patterns here
. Also check out our podcast interview
with Toni, and see what's new with her knitting, roller derby & foster birds on her blog