We are also happy to announce that we will be giving away a copy of Kristin's book and three skeins of her yarn. Read the interview below to find out lots of tidbits about Kristin and answer a question at the end to enter the give-away.
CEY: How did your new book 50 Sunflowers to knit, crochet & felt come about?
Kristin: My family and I have grown a field of sunflowers at our farm for several years. We grow over 15 varieties in all different colors and sizes. From late August to October, the vases in our house are overflowing with gorgeous blooms.
A couple years ago during the dormant growing season, I began designing knitted and crochet flowers and began decorating everything in my house with handmade flowers – pillows, garlands above the windows, potholders, napkin rings, even one of our sheep. I wrote the patterns up and began selling them on my website. I discovered I loved making little things that could be useful and also make nice presents for friends and family.
A longtime friend of mine – BJ Berti – is a Senior Editor at St. Martin’s Press. She knew of my interest in handmade flowers and she asked my literary agent if I would like to write a book about them.
Here I am, a year later with a new book out – hoping to turn on knitters and crocheters to making beautiful blossoms to decorate their clothing and their homes with.
CEY: Kristin, you are known mostly for your knitwear design. We didn’t realize you knew how to crochet too?
Kristin: I actually learned to crochet when I was 9 before I learned to knit! The only problem was I had never written crochet instructions before. I didn’t tell the publisher that! For 50 Sunflowers to knit, crochet & felt, I designed half the projects in crochet and half in knit. It was a challenge but stretched my limits and by the end of the designing process, it was really hard to turn off the crochet hook and move on to the knitted flowers.
CEY: This is a really fun collection Kristin. We see there aren’t only flowers but also some garden critters too. What’s that all about?
Kristin: When you work in a garden you are never alone. I like that feeling – to have tiny little guys appear to help out – enriching the soil, eating the pests. There are so many pretty bugs, butterflies, moths, and birds that inhabit any garden setting. It was hard to decide which to include.
The knitted collection includes a knitted robin, honeybee, wooly bear caterpillar and swallowtail butterfly. For crocheters, I designed a ladybug and a monarch butterfly. The challenging part of the critters was finding the proper yarn to create the look I was aiming for.
CEY: Many of the flowers and critters have a 3-D quality to them. Was that hard to create and did you find any tricks you might want to share?
Kristin: All the flowers and critters are little bits of knit or crochet sculpture. To design the different flowers, I actually worked from real sunflowers – examining the folds in the petals, the shapes of the petals, the seed heads. Then I tried to re-create them in yarn and stitches. Some were more successful than others but they were super fun to make.
The critters were a different story because real critters are so tiny. The robin was the most difficult to pull off – it took me 4 days of knitting, ripping, re-knitting, and writing to get the pattern correct! For the critters, I stuffed them with odds and ends of yarn. When I used traditional stuffing, the bright white color showed through. I found this really distracting and I knew it would look good in the photos. I cut up matching colors of yarn and stuffed the projects with that.
CEY: Where does the felting come in?
Kristin: Oh – I just love to felt little projects. I find that once you subject wool to heat and water, it becomes gorgeous sculpture. If I had it my way, all the projects would have been felted. The publisher didn’t want too many felted items, so there is only a smattering. Any of the finished projects could be felted.
CEY: Is there room for any creativity on the stitcher’s part?
Kristin: All of the projects will lead the knitter and crocheter onto their own journey. The way most of the instructions are written, the designs can be modified really easily – made bigger or smaller. And of course, it isn’t necessary to follow a certain color palette. Who says there can’t be a black sunflower? I can’t wait to see what people do on their own with this book.
CEY: Besides the flowers, you have also included 15 projects featuring the sunflowers and critters.
Kristin: I find that people love to make these little kinds of projects but then they don’t know what to do with them. I give plenty of ideas of where to use the projects. I also originated some special designs like a sunflower pillow, a crochet vase for the sunflowers, a baby rattle and some more fun projects.
CEY: Sounds like this book is the ultimate choice for fiber-gifting!
Kristin: It sure is. I hope many people will buy it and then spend the summer making their own sunflower garden while sitting on a beautiful seaside beach or next to a pool!
CEY: How can our readers purchase the book?
Kristin: 50 Sunflowers to knit, crochet & felt is available in all the regular channels. Readers can also purchase a signed copy directly from me on my website. The book is also available in many other countries. So far, it has been printed in the UK, in Australia and New Zealand and I hear it will be translated into other languages too! My work has never had such reach. Who was to know these little projects would spread throughout the world.
|Photo by Rikki Snyder|