Knitters You Should Know: hannahsch
How did you get into knitting?
My introduction to knitting happened when I was really young. My mom owned a craft supply business that ended up turning into an LYS when I was in the third grade. I spent a lot of my time there, but as with most family businesses, it wasn’t always by my choice. She ended up selling the shop when I was finishing High School and I went on a bit of an adventure with my boyfriend, but when I came home in 2008 I got a job at the shop again and my love was ignited.
Do you have a ‘real world’ job other than knitting?
Well, right now I’m working for an IT company as a summer student for the second summer in a row. The majority of my year is spent at the University of Alberta where I’m in the Anthropology program focusing in physical anthropology and archaeology. I essentially spend my school year with lots of bones, dirt and books! I also work part time at my LYS most of the year.
Where are you from?
I’m from Edmonton, Alberta. Edmonton’s reputation generally lies in a great big mall and being the gateway to all the nasty business surrounding the oil industry, but it’s really a beautiful city. Our river valley is massive (22 times larger than Central Park!) we have lots of festivals in the summer with something to do all the time. It has its faults, but after walking home through the valley today, it’s hard to take any of them too seriously. I’ll be eating those words when the leaves change in mid-September to ring in our 7 months of almost-winter weather… To really enjoy Edmonton you have to go off the beaten path a little, and those are always the best adventures anyway.
What is your favorite knitting spot? Do you have an ‘artistic process’ when it comes
to knitting, or do you bring the needles wherever you go?
My favourite knitting spot is, boringly enough, my couch. I do most of my knitting while watching TV or movies. I don’t think there’s necessarily an artistic process to my knitting, if anything the artistic process is in the planning. Once I’ve made up my mind I can go gangbusters, which often does involve having something in my bag all the time. Getting to that point, however, often takes a lot of deciding and flip-flopping on pretty much every aspect of a project.
Describe your average day.
My mornings start around 6, since I take forever to get ready in the morning. I either ride my bike or get a ride in to work. (I work in the same building as my dad, and I shamelessly mooch rides at every opportunity) I work from 8-5 most days, and it’s usually around 6 when I get home. A couple days a week I go for a run, and I play soccer and softball which takes up a bunch of my time too. Then I come home, grab some supper and get in a bit of knitting before bed. Starting in a couple weeks I’ll be taking a summer course at school so homework will get tossed somewhere in the mix.
Tell me about your favorite project.
Now that’s a tough one. I don’t want to be cliché and say it’s like choosing your favourite child, but it sort of feels that way. I think my favourite project based on prettiness would have to be my Haruni. I made it for my mom’s 50th birthday, and I sometimes still can’t believe I made that. Its ratio of beauty to difficulty was skewed so backwards since it was such an easy knit and such a lovely result. As for practicality and most wear would be my tweedy Ishbel. During the fall and winter it’s my go-to scarf since it goes with everything and is the perfect balance of cozy and compact.
If you could have one splurge knitting purchase and project, what would it be?
If you had asked me this question a couple weeks ago, I would have told you it would be to make the Adelaide Pullover by Kate Gagnon Osborn in the original yarn and colours. I adore that pullover and it’s such a timeless design that I’ll be able to wear it for years. I’m happy to report that I did, indeed, splurge on that one! I’m going through a bit of a Fibre Company binge, and so far I’ve been nothing but impressed with their yarns.
Who is your favorite knitwear designer and why?
That’s another tough one as there are so many great designers out there! I’m super excited for Ysolda Teague’s new book of sweaters, and I’ve been constantly charmed by Pam Allen’s work with Quince and Co. Oh, and Cecily Glowik MacDonald’s cardigans are always cute and unique. My favourite of the moment, and for the last while, has to be Cirilia Rose. A theme that you’ll notice on my blog is constant drooling over her designs. It seems like everything she does is tailor made for my style, and her proportions are similar to mine which makes me more confident that what I’m seeing in print will look good on my figure in the end. It’s no coincidence that I have a couple sweaters worth of yarn for her designs waiting for my attention. I made her Phinney sweater last year, but I’m going to be re-knitting it to add some length. You know you love the aesthetic of a sweater when you’re willing to knit it twice!
Do you have any hobbies other than knitting?
Other than being an Internet junkie, my two biggest hobbies would be spinning and running. I bought my wheel just over a year ago, and while it hasn’t gotten much attention this year because of school, but it’s such a great thing to have when you need a quick calming activity. I’ve also picked up running in the last couple months, which has turned out to be pretty great. My cousin just ran a half marathon, so I have some competition in the family to keep up with.
What is in your knitting bag right now?
If only it were a single bag.. right now my portable project is my Wicker Cowl which is a perfect simple lace pattern. I’ve got my sunny Villeray handy as well and the yarn to start a Kid’s Kerrera for my neighbours’ daughter ready to go! (Not to mention the scads of UFO’s floating around my house)
Do you have any advice for new knitters trying to refine their craft?
The only advice I have is practice, practice, and practice. You won’t get better at it without experimenting and falling on your face a couple times. You also need to not tolerate knitting things you aren’t happy with. It’s a fine line between a labour of love and a pain in the butt. Knitting should be fun, so don’t drag yourself down with a million rows of stockinette stitch if you don’t really want to.
I really like your project photography. What role does photography play in your knitwear documentation? Do you have a photographic process?
Oh, thank you! I think photography plays a huge role in documenting my projects. If I don’t photograph something, I often won’t remember anything about it so it stays off of Ravelry. The most important thing, which is often why I don’t photograph a project, is getting the right light. Direct light is too harsh, and using the flash washes out colours so there’s a pretty small window where my deck gets the right light. Living as far north as I do taking photos is great in the summer while we rock 17 hours of daylight, but we pay for it dearly in the winter when we get less than 6 sunny hours. It’s pretty easy to tell what projects I’ve finished in the summer versus the winter based on it having a photo or not. Light rant aside, I take a ton of photos of each project. Most of my favourite FO shots were total flukes that wouldn’t have happened if I stopped after 5 shots. And I always tweak my photos a bit in iPhoto. I love high saturation photographs, so it’s nice to play around with that. I’m always trying to get better and really need to start lugging my camera around more.
Do you think the internet is changing the world of knitting? If so, how?
Absolutely! It was no coincidence that my knitting fury reignited right after I registered with Ravelry back in 2008. It has opened my eyes to so many techniques, patterns, books and awesome people that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. I love that having an online presence has allowed so many independent crafters the ability to work full time on their craft. There are such inspiring success stories all over the place including Ysolda Teague who completely revolutionized self-publishing and Kristen at Skein Yarns who is now a full time yarnie who successfully created a super popular brand. All this networking has its drawbacks in copyright infringement etc. but I love that I can see what people are knitting on the other side of the planet and get style influences from places I wouldn’t have dreamed of 3 years ago.
What is your favorite item to knit? (Shawls, sweaters, mittens?)
I have a super short attention span, so my favourite thing to knit is usually shawlettes as I get the best finishing results. I do love handknit sweaters, so I’m hoping I can have some extra cozy ones ready for fall.
What is the weirdest comment you’ve gotten about knitting?
I haven’t actually had too many weird comments about my knitting. Like everyone else I’ll get the odd “you’re not a grandma” comment, but people are generally pretty supportive and interested. When I started at my job last summer I was a bit apprehensive about having knitting at my desk, but as soon as word got around I got commissioned to make hats for 2 co-workers, and I have a repeat customer this year!
What role, if any, do you think knitting will have in your life in ten years?
I should hope I’m still knitting in 10 years! More than anything I’d like to keep it as a relaxation outlet. It’s too easy to get stressed out in day-to-day life, especially as a student running on less than adequate amounts of sleep for months at a time. Having something to detox with is so important. Who knows what I’ll be up to when I’m 32, but I’ll be wearing handknits while I do it!
Finally, ask a question for the next interviewee to answer!
If you could teleport to any city for a day where would you go? Why?