Bristol Ivy is a very busy person in the fibre world: A prolific knitwear designer as well as the wholesale pattern distributor and customer service contact for Brooklyn Tweed and a tutor in knitting, spinning, weaving, dyeing, and felting. Add to this list that Bristol is also a knitting and fibre photographer and you can see why I was keen to get her to Unwind to share her extensive experience and talents!
When I saw Bristol's most recent design, Wainwright, I was fascinated by the construction. I often look at her work and think 'How did you do that?'. I would love to take one of her classes! Bristol will be teaching two classes on Saturday, 12th July 2014: Blocking (am) &
Bristol kindly agreed to answer some questions about her knitting life...
What was your first knitting project?
Oh wow, that takes me back! I was homeschooled all through my schooling, and when I was little, my mom would read to us as part of the curriculum. Then and now, I fidget basically constantly, so mom taught me how to knit to keep my hands busy while she read. My first project was a neon variegated acrylic headband in garter stitch. I held onto it until I was probably sixteen or seventeen, and really wish I still had it!
What’s your favourite thing to knit?
Probably sweaters, but cowls and shawls come in a close second. They're just a really great canvas for exploring different techniques and shaping.
What was your most successful project?
The most successful is usually what's just off the needles! For least successful, though, I have one lace pattern that never even got off the ground. I spent probably forty hours charting and recharting this one complicated idea I had, and then spent another ten hours knitting and re-knitting a massive swatch. I stared at it for about ten minutes, then crumpled it up, put it in a drawer, and haven't looked at it since!
Do you have any other crafty hobbies?
Definitely! I also weave, spin, and sew when I have the time, and did a lot of paper art growing up—papermaking, collage, and bookmaking—that I'd like to get back into. There's never enough time in the day!
Is there anything you’d never, ever want to make?
I've said “never” before—intarsia! Color-blocking! Crochet!—and I somehow always come around to it.
Would you say you are a process or product knitter?
Definitely product. I'll slog through a lot of boring knitting to get a product I love, and I hate having more than one thing going at a time, even if they utilize wildly different techniques. So I'm very monogamous to a single product at a time, always looking towards the end goal!
What are you working on at the moment?
Shockingly, just a swatch—I finished up a sweater earlier this week and haven't cast on for another big project yet. I'm hoping to this afternoon, since I have a couple deadlines coming up!
If you had to pick just one kind of yarn to knit with for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Oof, that's hard. Can I cheat and just say “wool”? :)
What are you most looking forward to about Unwind Brighton?
I'm so excited to come to the UK! I've been a total Anglophile my entire life, so I'm just really looking forward to getting a chance to visit and see the knitting culture there. You've got such a great group of teachers and vendors lined up and I can't wait to be a part of such an amazing event!
A big thank you to Bristol Ivy for taking the time to share some insight into her knitting world. You can find Bristol’s latest patterns on ravelry. Just decide which Shakespearian inspired knit you want to cast on first, Messaline or Illyria ?