Amanda B. Collins is a stellar Designer of the Month! She has already been through to the shop for tea and a trunk show, as well as come out with a new design using Ginger’s Hand Dyed. Check out her Braeriach socks in my Sheepish Sock if you haven’t done so already! Okay, onward to the Designer of the Month interview.
- GINGER TWIST STUDIO: How is it you first came to pick up a pair of needles?
AMANDA B. COLLINS: It initially started with crochet, about midway through university. I had decided I needed a hobby and wanted it to be a creative one, so I bought a bundle of terrible yarn from the local corner shop and attempted to make a blanket. Needless to say, the blanket has never materialised – mainly because I decided blankets weren’t exciting enough and wanted a cardigan instead. It looked like knitting was the way to go for a bigger choice of garments and it went from there really!
- GTS: I think it is fair to say you have a pretty serious and time consuming day job. Therefore, I don’t even understand how it is you have time to design these gorgeous items…you must be part-knitting-superhero. Anyhoo, do tell us about how you first moved in the direction of designing yourself.
ABC: I am pretty busy, and it does have to come home with me, but I do strongly believe people *need* to do something outside work that isn’t work related. I’m also one of these ridiculous people who always has to be doing six things at once. It’s a running joke that it takes me ten minutes to make a cup of tea because I’ll be distracted by many other things along the way.
When I first started designing, I had only knitted very few items. It started because I wanted things I couldn’t find elsewhere, perhaps mixed with a little drop of naivety! The fox purse for example – I made it and thought, ‘why not? I’m sure other people might like one of these too’.
Life is full of moments we could act on and don’t; either because it’s too much trouble, because it’s scary or because we worry others wouldn’t approve or like it as much as we do. It’s important to make yourself do the scary things, go places you want to go, do anything and everything you want to do simply because you want to. There’s a great philosophy that doing new things makes your life last longer – have you ever noticed that the first time you drive/walk somewhere new it seems to take longer than the road back? Well, apply this to every day and item of your life.
- GTS: What is your favourite thing to design and why? You seem to be on a sock designing binge recently…
ABC: I am on a sock binge, it’s becoming ridiculous. However, I have broken the binge, despite the fact that I now have many pretty tiny needles to play with. Largely due to necessity – there are deadlines for summer items I really need to attend to (branching out into garments, hinthint).
I’m not sure I know what my favourite is yet; I haven’t made everything! I love one-skein shawls, it’s satisfying to pick up one of those pretty skeins from the shelf and quickly turn it into something beautiful. The same applies for small items, I’m a sucker for the quick knit – give me a chunky hat any day. Saying that, the things I enjoy wearing most are sweaters & cardigans.
- GTS: DPNs or Magic Loop?
ABC: Magic loop, all the way! It doesn’t help that I’m terribly clumsy and the multiple needles and possibilities of stitch-droppage involved with those would be a recipe for disaster. I also knit all of my socks/sleeves two at a time for two reasons: firstly, they are then exactly identical, which pleases me greatly. Second, I don’t trust myself to knit a second identical item. I have the attention span of a small child, and envisage a drawer of single socks appearing – not because the washing machine has eaten them, but because I failed to sit down to knit it’s partner.
- GTS: Is there a hand knit item you own that you just could not do without?
ABC: My 5200K sweater by Suvi Simola is my go-to comfort item. It just makes my jeans/skirts/pyjamas so happy.
- GTS: Tea is very important. What is your favourite flavour?
ABC: Ooooh, difficult. At the moment, it’s cinnamon. Come spring I’ll likely have moved onto green tea and on warm summer evenings I thoroughly enjoy a cup of mint tea.
- GTS: Any exciting plans for 2015 that can be revealed, knitting or even non-knitting related?
ABC: Oh goodness, what to tell?
I’ve applied for my next job, and will hopefully find out whether I’ve been successful or not in March. I’m off to Iceland in March too, over my birthday. Also in March (goodness this is busy!), there’s the Edinburgh Yarn Festival which I’ll be attending with patterns & stitch markers!
Summer will hopefully bring a very pretty pattern in a very pretty place (not sure if I’m allowed to share?!), and October will bring a collection of wondrousness which I’ll reveal closer to the time 😀
That’s all very vague, I can only apologise!