Meet Gladys We! Gladys is from the Vancouver, BC area and will be visiting us at Knit Fit! to teach a class called Planning to Pool (and enjoy some of the handpainted yarns in the marketplace no doubt!). She has developed a very cool technique for controlling color pooling deliberately, and her patterns combine color and lace patterns in striking ways.
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Who taught you to knit?
My mom taught me how to knit, so that I could get a Brownie badge. She’s amazed at where I’ve gone with it.
What was the catalyst that took you from knitting to designer?
I fell in love with handpainted yarn, but the first things I tried with it turned out to be pretty big knitting disasters. The colours that I loved in the skein were so messy when put together in the finished object. I had seen the Pooling Colours Scarf in Interweave Knits a few years earlier, and when I put the planned pooling technique together with my handpainted yarns, I found that all I needed to do was come up with a lace pattern (because I looooove lace) that matched up with the pooling colours.
What are some sources of visual inspiration for you?
Mother Nature is an endless source of inspiration, from colour combinations to patterns and geometry to unexpected and intricate lace patterns.
Tell us about your design process.
The yarn talks to me. Man, that sounds so precious, but seriously, I look at the yarn and I look at what the dyer named it, and then I try to find a pattern that lives up to the dyer’s dreams for it. For example, one of my patterns is in a yarn named “Skandal um Rosi”. That name refers to a popular German pop song about a brothel in Munich, so when I was trying to find a lace pattern to work up in that yarn, I looked for something that looked feminine and yet also possibly phallic. I’m not sure I was entirely successful, but I did like the results.
What’s the strangest place you’ve ever knit?
The summit of Mt Haleakala in Maui is one of my odd places. Others might say that knitting on a boat to go snorkeling in the Molokini crater would count as odd. I knit everywhere, so it’s probably never that odd, wherever I go.