On October 18th, we are excited to welcome some of the designers from Cooperative Press to the store. Shannon Okey, Andi Smith and Alasdair Post-Quinn will be signing books, showing garments and answering questions from 11am – 1pm in the store. Then, Andi and Shannon will shift gears to teach two great classes, “Big Foot Knits” and “Sewing Patterns for Knitting“. It is going to be an exciting day in the store!
We recently chatted with Andi Smith about her class and her upcoming book.
Andi, tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in South Yorkshire surrounded by generations of crafters, knitters and gardeners. The process of making something from nothing, be it a Fair Isle sweater from a few balls of wool or a patch of vegetables from a handful of seeds, this was an intrinsic part of my childhood. My mum taught me at an early age to find my own answers, that discovery is an integral part of any creative process. I think that’s why I design. I love discovering how things work, how to manipulate elements to get the desired effect, to learn from mistakes and love the process.
What is your favorite aspect of knitting?
I’m definitely a process knitter. The rhythmic motion of physically creating stitches is sheer joy! Having those individual stitches become something is also greatly pleasing.
Tell us about the inspiration for your upcoming book, Big Foot Knits
The whole thing started out as a conversation, which led to emails and then into an essay and finally into a book. My goal throughout the book has been to encourage knitters to create their own custom fit socks, breaking down all aspects of sock design and showing how, through simple math, you can make it all your own. The patterns in the second half of the book are all specifically designed to be changed. I was fortunate to have some incredible yarns to work with to showcase the patterns, and can’t wait for the knit-alongs to start so that I can knit them all again!
You are going to be teaching a class at WEBS on October 18th! What can a student expect from your class?
I’ll run through the basics of sock design and together we will create an individual, well-fitting sock pattern for every student. It’s a fairly fast-paced class, but there are lots of hand-outs and worksheets to keep it all fresh in your memory.
What is your favorite thing about teaching?
That’s an easy one! It’s that moment after the “lightbulb” moment. You know the one, when you see that someone really “gets” what you’re saying, and then they pause, pause for a second or two more and then say, “what if we took that and did this to it?” I LOVE THAT! I’m all about people finding their own way to make things work! It’s such a thrill to see it in action, to know you’ve had a part in expanding horizons and then seeing those horizons multiply! Gets me every time.
Are you a multi-crafter? Do you have any other craft passions?
I am indeed! Crochet, sewing, embroidery, a little crazy quilting when the mood strikes. I really enjoy just seeing where the craft takes me. Taking that blank canvas and seeing where it takes me – that’s the joy! I would desperately like to be able to draw and paint and transfer what I see with my eyes to paper, but I have a hard time drawing a straight line with a pencil and ruler, so I have to content myself with other mediums. There’s always hope though…