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60 Second Interview: Susan Crawford

We are looking forward to visit designer Susan Crawford's stall at Edinburg Yarn Festival, and judged by the volume of  excited tweets we received when we announced that Susan will be coming to the festival - so seem many of you! :-)

TrimmedRosesJumper

When did you start knitting/spinning/crocheting?

I first learnt to knit, crochet, embroider and sew between the ages of 4 and 6 years. My grandmother Ruby taught me to knit, sew and crochet and my great-grandmother, known only as Ninny Bark, taught me to embroider.

 What was your first knitting/spinning/crochet project?

I have no recollection of what my very first project was as I was so young, but I am quite certain that it will have been an item of dolls clothing. I tended to knit squares then cut a hole in the centre for the doll’s head to go through then sew part way up at each side and that was it!

My first completed teenage project was ridiculously ambitious. I knitted a double knit weight cotton, drop-sleeve sweater, with Roy Lichenstein’s “Wham” painting worked in intarsia across the front, back and both sleeves. It still survives to this day and actually has worn incredibly well and is now worn by my daughter. I blogged about it about a year ago and received emails from all over the world asking to buy it!

Can you show us some of the products you'll be bringing to the festival?

I will be bringing copies of my books for sale, along with single patterns, including some new designs hopefully. I will also be bringing Excelana, my own pure British yarn along with some special yarns from Juno Fibres and a selection of Jamieson & Smith pure Shetland wools. Also possibly some vintage haberdashery - buttons etc.

Susan Crawford A Stitch in TimeSusan Crawford 1

What product/pattern are you most proud of?

Ooh, that’s really difficult to say. If I have to say only one thing, I guess it would have to be A Stitch in Time, Volume 1 which was my first book. It took three years to write and I eventually self published it in 2008. It has 360 pages and 59 patterns in it so for a first book it was probably a bit like my first sweater - ridiculously ambitious! But I am very very proud of it and the fact that it continues to be popular, with its latest print run just selling out yet again.

How many WIPS have you got?

Far too many. Five or six ‘official’ projects but then probably a dozen others languishing in bags and boxes waiting for the moment when I will have the time to go back to them.

Do you use Ravelry?

Yes I certainly do.  I am justcallmeruby on ravelry, which is the name of my blog and also the name I first began designing under. I also have a group on ravelry called ‘A Stitch in Time’ Susan Crawford Vintage Designs. Its a bit of a long title but there is a shop in the US which also has the name A Stitch in Time.

Have you got a favourite pattern designer and why?

Many. I am an obsessive collector of patterns and pattern books so find it quite tricky to pick just one out. I think to avoid missing out anyone current who I really admire, I will have to go for  Margaret Murray and Jane Koster who wrote all of the Odhams knitting books in the 1930s and 40s and also books for Minerva and others.

What's on your needles/hook/spindle right now?

Right now I have a Wartime Farm sleeveless pullover for a three year old nearly completed ready for display at the yarn fest. Also a sweater for my husband based on a 110 year old pattern which was written top down and in the round! I have also just started knitting for my new book The Vintage Shetland Project which will be out towards the end of the year.

WartimeFarmSleevelessPullover_01

If you had to pick just one kind of yarn to knit with/ tool to work with / fibre to spin for the rest of your life what would it be?

I love yarn of all types but if I really could have only one kind of yarn it would be pure wool, preferably something along the lines of Excelana or Shetland wool and preferably 4 ply (fingering) weight.

Thanks Susan! If you're curious about Susan's designs please check out her website and her blog and remember to visit her stall at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

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