We’re very happy to be posting Amy Singer’s interview this time.
Amy is teaching with us as part of her 2013 UK tour, and we’re very excited to be working with her. As long-term fans of Knitty.com and it’s fantastic array of patterns that have launched some of the greatest designers in the industry, I’m honoured to be working with her.
When and Why did you start designing?
I’m less of a designer than a someone who likes to muck about with techniques and try to find an easier — or more streamlined — way to do things. Occasionally this results in designs, which always surprises and delights me. My first ever design, the Tuscany Shawl, was created as the project for a class to be offered in the real Tuscany in Italy. A trip to that beautiful country was enough motivation, and creating the design resulted in one of the favorite things I’ve developed — my Plug+Play technique, which I teach in a variety of forms.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
It’s usually the yarn that talks to me. Sometimes, the colorway.
What is your favourite thing to design? Why?
I could spend a lifetime designing Plug+Play shawls and never run out of permutations of shape, texture, lace, pattern.
When did you start Knitting/Crocheting/Crafting?
My most-fabulous Grandma Lillian taught me when I was 6. Crochet is a recent addition to my toolbag…that happened this year. I’ve also renewed my interest in working with Japanese Delica beads in Peyote stitch as a way to play with color that’s very satisfying and really quick to complete a project.
What new skills have you acquired since you started designing?
I started playing with crochet in the same way I have been playing with knitting, and realize I have a heck of a lot more to learn about crochet before I can design with it.
What are your biggest challenges?
I am deeply math impaired. This, as a bonus, has resulted in me working out my Plug+Play and Autopilot Sock techniques that don’t require math to produce a beautiful result.
Do you have a day job? If so, do you find any inspiration from the people/tasks you encounter?
I was fortunate enough to be able to quit my day job and focus on Knitty.com and teaching full time, back in 2006. In the world of mundane advertising, there was little inspiration for my craft. However, I did learn a lot about marketing which I hope I am using effectively, when it’s necessary, in my business.
What are your favourite shapes and colours?
I am in love with every shade of blue-green, from palest robin’s egg to deep sea blue. Periwinkle also makes me happy.
If you could take any workshop at Fibre Flurry 2013, (apart from your own!) which would it be and why?
I’d love to take Anni’s Continental Knitting with Norwegian Purl. As someone who suffers from Repetitive Strain in both hands, learning new techniques helps me spread the workload and prevent injury.
What plans do you have for 2014?
I’m thinking about running a retreat in Ontario somewhere. I have ideas.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Very excited to be coming back to the UK! If I had my way, I’d live here half of every year! Maybe one day.
Amy R Singer is the editor of the online knitting magazine Knitty.com which has had more than 137 million site visits since its launch in 2002. More than ten years ago.
Most people who learn she’s a knitter and knitting magazine editor who is allergic to wool think it’s hysterical. Ha. Never mind. She’s perfectly happy knitting with cotton and silk and lots of other stuff, and wrote a book on the subject (No Sheep for You; Interweave Press, 2007), and a few others about other stuff. She champions the joys of mindless [think relaxing] knitting, helping knitters to create beautiful things without tearing their hair out.
Amy lives in Toronto with her husband and their two rabbits, Boeing and Squeeze, and is frequently seen walking about shamelessly in public with her ukulele. Find out where in the world she is today at amysinger.ca