Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Your Knitting Or Crochet Hero :: 3KCBWDAY3 ::

Your Knitting Or Crochet Hero
Blog about someone in the fibre crafts who truly inspires you. There are not too many guidelines for this, it's really about introducing your readers to someone who they might not know who is an inspiration to you. It might be a family member or friend, a specific designer or writer, indie dyer or another blogger. If you are writing about a knitting designer and you have knitted some of their designs, don't forget to show them off. Remember to get permission from the owner if you wish to use another person's pictures.


In truth I’m inspired and influenced by many talented people, but I think the mother of them all, cliched as it may be, has to be Elizabeth Zimmerman.

I come from a very DIY-inspired family. My Dad was a marine engineer and was DIY personified. Although his talents didn’t stretch to actually building our house, a huge proportion of the things in our family home had his mark upon them. He installed and varnished our hardwood flooring and skirting boards, turned our attic into a usable space with plumbing, refit our bathrooms, built our garden sheds… The list is endless. My 16th birthday present from my parents was a complete bedroom refit, and my Dad did every bit of it himself, from the flooring, to the fitted wardrobe, to the walls. B&Q was his second home (or perhaps that was the golf course), and I always felt like his handiness had no bounds. If he didn’t know how to fix or build something, he’d sit down, plan it out, and figure things out until he could.

Similarly my Mum has a totally resourceful, “can do” approach to everything. The number of times I experienced utter exasperation as a child whenever I expressed a longing for something, only to be told “that’s very easy to make, we can do it ourselves!” As exasperated as those words made me as a child, they’ve stood me in good stead, and to this day I’m always keen to have a go at doing things myself. Well, almost, sometimes it’s nice to take a shortcut.

But I think it’s also why Elizabeth Zimmerman’s writing appeals to me so much. She has a very no nonsense, “can do” approach to knitting. It’s empowering. She advocates “unventing”, experimenting, having a go, experimenting some more, and not being afraid of your knitting. If it doesn’t work, rip it back, but don’t be afraid to try. I think out of all crafts, knitting (and crochet) have the most flexibility in terms of experimentation. Most yarns can stand being reknit dozens of times if things don’t quite go to plan. Some yarns can even be re-joined once the ends have been broken, but the same can’t be said of fabric once it’s been cut for sewing, or paper once folded for origami. Other crafts have their perks, but there is a finality about them that is absent from knitting and crochet.

So I look up to Elizabeth Zimmerman for opening my eyes to the woolly possibilities,


but it seems that I also have my parents to thank for giving me an outlook that embraces craftiness so well.

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