Nomadic Knits: Hi Patty!
Patty: People have been asking me to put all my favorite tricks into one book for years. I’ve always been more of a video class gal, but books are just a different thing. I love my knitting library and I love the feel of paper, of thumbing through a book and looking at the pictures, so I totally get it. All that being said, if my publisher David and Charles hadn’t come calling with the invite, I never would have gotten around to doing it. As far as why I teach the way I teach (the deep dive into the why), that’s because I’m a self-taught knitter. Since I spent years doing things wrong and misunderstanding instructions, I HAD to take a different approach to learning. I had to take things apart so I could really understand how they were built. When we do that, we really OWN our knitting.
Patty: Franklin and I have been friends for years. Since I often describe things using odd analogies (like the Vegas showgirls = sad frown cast on), there was only one illustrator I could think of who could make those analogies come to life. Franklin had just moved to France, so it was all done with email. I would send him text surrounding the image and what I was looking for and he would send me back a concept sketch. There was always a bit of back and forth. I love how he can create such vivid expressions with a few simple lines. When I asked if the dropped stitch that had been picked up could look relieved, he managed to create that face that just makes me laugh.
The technical illustrations (over 200 of them) were all done by the amazing Linda Schmidt. She was also incredible to work with. Since she is not only a technical illustrator, but a knitter, she cast on for every trick in the book to make sure she really understood them. She truly went above and beyond!
Patty: For me, just memorizing the how does not help me learn. When I understand the why of one thing, it opens up a whole world of understanding someplace else. When we memorize, we can forget, but when we really understand, then we never forget.
Patty: I think more people being able to make things from sticks and string is always a good idea, don’t you?
Patty: Step away, bake cookies, read a book, do another craft. Sometimes we need to step away to remember why we love something. Often knitters are too focused on the product and not on the process. We fall in love with the process, but at some point we get impatient. We start judging our own work. We start to demand perfection of ourselves. Basically, we suck all the joy out of it. Cast on for a garter stitch scarf and remember the simple joy of passing one stitch at a time from one hand to another. Knitting and meditation beads are the same. Then, when the peace has come back to your knitting, then and only then can you go back to that Brioche project that was making you nuts.
Patty: Figuring out what to cut. There was so much that I wanted to include. My brilliant editor, Carol Sulcoski, helped me keep my eye on the prize and stay focused.