Meet Andrea Rangel! She knits, designs, and teaches in Seattle, WA. Her designs have been published in a variety of publications like Interweave Knits, Knit Scene, Clotheshorse & Knitty, and she also regularly publishes independently. Andrea’s fashionable garments and accessories accentuate the use of the hand knitted stitch, focusing on shape, texture, drape, and wonderful fibers.
Andrea is teaching a 2-part class called The Elements of Hand Knitting Design at Knit Fit! 2012. Find out more about her work at www.andreaknits.com or on Ravelry (Andreakr). We asked Andrea a bit about herself and her work to kick off a series of posts to introduce you to everyone who will be teaching at Knit Fit! Enjoy!
• • •
What are some sources of visual inspiration for you?
I love to look at fashion of all kinds – shop windows, what people are wearing in the city, things I see on blogs and on Ravelry. Usually I’ll see a shape or the way a garment fits somebody and then sketch out a possibility for a knitted garment.
I also really enjoy the natural world and, like most folks, take inspiration from the forms that occur there. It’s usually more abstract and about the feeling of a place, a plant, or a scene rather than specific patterns or shapes.
Who taught you to knit?
My grandma taught me when I was a kid (she knit and sewed some pretty glorious doll clothes for me), but I didn’t keep it up after she died. When I came to Seattle for college I saw my aunt knitting & had this burning desire to try it again. She put the yarn and needles in my hands and they completely remembered how from at least ten years earlier. That same aunt enabled me with a huge quantity of gorgeous plum mohair and a pair of metal needles, which I’m pretty sure I never returned. I knit a long and random strip of fabric out of that mohair and I was on my way. Haven’t stopped since.
Most useful knitting tip you ever learned?
It’s not a tip, but a book. Anna Zillboorg’s Knitting for Anarchists was a total revelation to me. I read it after I’d become pretty good at the act of knitting, but was hit-and-miss successful at creating my own projects. The book has these wonderful diagrams and teaches exactly what’s happening physically with the stitches and in the knitted fabric. And, there are lots of quotes like, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” Relating that deep thought to my knitting blew my mind and set me on the path to designing.
Tell us about the project you’re most proud of.
I’m pretty proud of my Kalaloch leggings. I love knitting things like shorts, pants, skirts, and dresses. Years ago my husband challenged me to knit pants, and I’ve gone through quite a few versions of meeting that challenge. But the Kalaloch leggings are really my most successful attempt. They fit perfectly and are so comfortable. (I’m in awe of the knitted in encased elastic waistband.) And they came out looking exactly as I had envisioned them.