Monday, July 11, 2011
Knitting and Spinning Downunder: Meet my Guest of the week, Roz
Roz in the Masai Mara tunic
I knitted the ‘Masai Mara Tunic’ above specifically to wear at the upcoming Australian National Sheep and Wool Show. In the photo I am also wearing my Bison Yarn Cat’s Paw scarf and one of Spinningwoodie’s scarf/shawl pins.
Some of you will know me as Sheilaheeler on Ravelry. I borrowed that name from my dog for my Ravelry ID. My name is Roslyn although my friends call me Roz. I live in a small village in southern Australia right on the coast of the Great Southern Ocean with nothing but ocean between us and the Antarctic. The Southern Right Whales leave their feeding grounds in the Antarctic & swim up here to our sheltered, warmer waters to give birth and mate every winter. Tourists flock here to watch them basking in the breakers close to the shore. It is a beautiful and inspiring place to live.
My personal journey as a knitter began at a young age when my mother and grandmother taught me to knit. I knitted clothes for my dolls. As a teenager I started knitting sweaters for myself and then as a young woman for my husband and son also. These were always knitted from a commercial pattern with the pattern coming first and the yarn to suit then being purchased. After moving to a small rural property we purchased some colored sheep & learnt to spin. From then on my knitting was influenced by my spinning, dare I say intertwined with it. I started knitting garments with wool spun by myself and my husband (Spinningwoodie on Ravelry) from our small flock, but now the yarn came first and a pattern to suit was then found. Because of the varying nature of handspun I soon learned to adapt patterns.
After moving to where we now live we joined Ravelry and I discovered Jane Thornley and free-range knitting. I also discovered modular knitting and needlefelting. The latter rekindled my interest in drawing and painting as it is really painting with fiber. My knitting has also definitely become more ‘painterly’ and intuitive in design rather than following a pattern from start to finish, even when it isn’t free-range. Sometimes when I purchase fiber I have something in mind for it, but more often I buy it because I like it and wait for it to tell me how it wants to be spun and what it wants to be.
And here we are, having an interview:
Jane: Roz, you kind of burst into my viewscape with that first Paua Shell topper pattern of mine you knit. There you were, a maid of this majestic continent, knitting a piece that expressed your own love of the region. I was so wowed. What encouraged you to move from where you'd been, knitwise, to where you are now?
Roz: When I saw your Feather’n Fan Organic Wrap on Ravelry it immediately caught my attention. What followed wasn’t a conscious decision of “I am going to change the way I knit”, but more of a light bulb moment of “Wow! I must try this!” I chose the Paua Shell topper pattern for my first adventure with free-range knitting as this beautiful shell contains all my favorite colors and I have an ongoing love affair with New Zealand.
Jane: You are a spinner, one of those enviable souls who get to make their own yarn. Do you see spinning and free-range knitting a good match?
Roz: I see hanspun yarn as the perfect match for free-range knitting as a spinner can design some or all of the yarn as well as the knitted item, having the ability to dye and blend whatever color or fiber is required for a project before spinning the yarn, and in the spinning process having complete control over the thickness and texture. It is also fun to spin art/novelty yarns such as thick and thin, coils, or insertions, that can't hold guage. free-range knitting on large needles is perfect for these yarns.
JANE: So, do you wear your works out in public and how does Australia react to such stunning examples of knitterly (and spinnery) art?
Roz: I enjoy wearing my free-range garments frequently during our Autumn/Fall and Winter, accessorized with either the beautiful handcrafted wooden pins my husband makes or the matching jewelry a very good friend has made for two of my garments. I receive compliments on them wherever I wear them. However, I get the most comments from knitters and spinners who are always interested in the concept of free-range knitting. I direct them to Jane’s website.
JANE: Do you believe there's a big difference between knitting like this and, let's say, knitting socks? Each one brings their own pleasures but how does the free-range experience effect your life?
Roz: The free-range experience has changed my approach to knitting in a big way. Rather than structured patterns I now prefer to knit simple shapes that will show off colors, stitch patterns and the texture of the yarn, but I still enjoy an occasional challenge of following a pattern such as the Viking helmet I have just finished with horns, rivets, beard and plaits attached.
Roz, here's where you can add a question of your choice to round out the profile any way you'd like.
Roz: Where will my future free-range path take me? I have a few ideas in the planning stage, but not knowing what is just around the next corner is part of the pleasure of the journey. A visit to Jane’s Queensland workshop may be a possibility.
‘Spirit of Aotearoa’ is my first Jane Thornley project. The pattern is the Paua Shell Topper. I kept pretty much to the instructions.
‘Winter Snow Gums’ above is my version of Jane’s Thousand Branches Kimono and again I didn’t stray too far from the instructions. However, I gave it an Australian slant by including the colors of the wet bark of the Snow Gums. In the photo I am wearing the necklace ‘Tears of the Autumn Sun and Moon’.
On the front page , ‘Misty Mountain Moonshine’ is the one where I really learnt to fly solo with free-range knitting and modified the Thousand Branches Kimono design. I wanted a sleeveless, shorter version that would be more practical to wear to spinning groups where the long sleeves of the kimono would likely be spun in to the yarn. In this photo I am wearing the necklace ‘Mysticated Moonlight’.