We met Lauren at the beginning of 2020 when she popped in wanting to learn to knit. Catching up on her achievements is delightful and makes this LYS a joy to share.
Can you tell us a little about how long you have been knitting?
I became a knitter seven months ago. I'd like to say it’s because I saw the pandemic coming, but it's really just a happy coincidence that I approached lockdown armed with a set of knitting needles. Despite some knitted brows and moments of knitter’s doubt in the early days (I recall at one point googling, ‘Is it possible that some people just can’t knit?’), I pressed on and finished my first project. It’s not an overstatement to say that I’ve never been so charmed or satisfied with a face cloth. And from that point on, I was hooked.
What inspired you to get started?
It was probably equal parts Instagram envy and also desperately wanting an excuse to finally go into Cast off Collective and get lots of yarn. (Spoiler: I really do love yarn.) If I dig deeper, I’d probably also say that I was inspired to start because I’d cottoned on to what every other knitter out there knows, which is that knitting is good for the spirit.
Have the COVID lockdowns been kind to you? Did your newfound hobby help you to navigate a way towards a ‘new normal’ while juggling a young family, work and lockdown?
I don't think I’ve fully processed the events of this year yet, but I will say that when you find yourself in lockdown during a global pandemic, it's not a bad idea to knit your way through it. 2020 has definitely turned into my year of knitting, and as well as being the best kind of distraction and an all-round bringer of joy, it’s also embodied a bit of a shift towards a less hurried way of living. My life has become more balanced this year, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to slow down, spend more time at home with my husband and kids, and create some knitted goodness along the way.
Patterns : Knit How by Pom Pom Press Yarns : Millpost Merino & Malabrigo
Guilt free or guilty pleasure? Do you have a favourite time and place to knit? Do you have something on the side while knitting? Audio books, podcasts, Netflix…
I knit most nights after the kids are in bed, and it does inevitably involve some streaming on the side. But knitting is so wholesome that I don’t have to feel guilty about that! I also like a bit of weekend knitting in the sun. Apparently you should never knit before midday, but I’d like to know if knitters really observe this rule, and what the consequences are for breaking it!
Who are you knitting for? yourself, family, friends, charities, gift…
I’ve just finished a headband for my daughter, which she was thrilled with until I suggested she wear it. I do like knitting for myself, but I really love knitting for family and friends.
Pattern : Holy Headband by We are Knitters Yarn : Fiddlesticks Finch
What’s on your needles at the moment?
I’m actually making a second Holy Headband from We Are Knitters. The first (for my daughter) was so quick and fun that I couldn’t resist doing one for myself too.
Do you have a favourite yarn/fibre? What about colours?
I haven’t met a yarn I didn’t like, but I do have some that I keep coming back to. Malabrigo Rios is almost indestructible and very forgiving for beginners. And as my daughter would say, ‘All the colours!’ I’m interested in colour and will reliably go for anything pink, olive or sage, but I also love neutrals too.
I’m so proud of every project I’ve finished. As my husband regularly says in a tone of awe: ‘You made that with two sticks and a bit of string!’
As a new knitter in 2020 who has moved well beyond a simple scarf and has now knitted your first sweater (applause) do you have some words of wisdom or top tips for improving your game?
I felt committed to knitting from the moment I bought my first pair of needles, and I don’t quite know how to explain that! (They are very lovely Lykke needles, so perhaps that has something to do with it.) I watched lots of online tutorials and did a workshop at Cast off, and Wendy has been so helpful when it comes to choosing projects and yarn, and setting me straight whenever I convince myself that I’m knitting something inside out or backwards. I keep learning as I go, and it’s so nice seeing improvements with every project.
Pattern : Novice Sweater by Petite Knits Yarn : Fiddlesticks Andes
What’s next? Where are you finding inspiration? A favourite designer or knitter that you are crushing on?
I’m not sure! It will probably be another sweater or a shawl, cushion or throw. I also recently bought ‘Easy Knit Dishcloths’, and I plan to practise some stitches with that. I’ve been getting some good inspiration from PetiteKnit, My Favourite Things and Good Night, Day lately.
Best place for coffee in Balgowlah?
Aggy’s, Bacino and Cheese on Wheels.
Top local tip for people visiting Balgowlah?
Visit Cast off Collective! And then hop onto the Manly to Spit walk and have a swim at Fairlight or Delwood Beach.
If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
I love Sydney, but I could also happily live in Stockholm or Copenhagen.
Thank you Lauren. It has been an absolute joy to meet you this year and share your knitting life.