Sunday, 16 February 2014

Unwind with Susie Myers

Unwind with Susie Myers, whose Contiguous sleeve method has been something of a knitting phenomenon! Susie was determined to find a way to create top-down set-in sleeves continuously, on one round, or row, like a top-down raglan. After much experimenting, she was able to make a garment and posted her idea in a forum.

Susie was surprised that not only did her idea for top-down simultaneous set-in sleeves work, but that other people wanted to try it too. She describes herself as having “unvented” the Contiguous Method, shying away from the word invention. Susie humbly believes that’s how it is in the knitting world: people find similar solutions to similar problems. However, it still seems pretty impressive and we’re so happy that she’s coming to teach the method that can now be found in over 2500 garments!

Susie will be teaching two classes on her Contiguous method, one on Saturday 12th July and one on Sunday 13th July. I her asked  to answer a few questions and share some of her knitting experiences with us...

What was your first knitting project?

At school in Home Economics - having to knit a sampler with a variety of stitches. I hated it. My mum finished it for me. The school never commented on the difference in tension and technique, but it must have been obvious.

The next thing was an appalling acrylic super long scarf in moss stitch (seed stitch) in the mid-1970s. In stripes, inspired by Dr Who but not the colours or the spacing. I may even still have it. I tried knitting things for my baby in the mid-Eighties. I still have one bootie.

Then in 2007 there was a knitting pattern for a Baker's Cap style hat in the local weekly community newspaper. I read it and thought, "I could knit that!" so off I went to the city LYS and bought needles and (totally unsuitable) yarn.

I started knitting something different - a hat - no pattern. Unfinished.
Then I discovered Ravelry! Wow. What a difference.

What’s your favourite thing to knit?

I like knitting hats. They are quick and lend themselves to much variation and experimentation. I am the world's slowest knitter, so long projects don't keep my interest for the duration.

What was your most successful project?

Most successful would be Penelope's Tapestry, (the first Contiguous jumper) as it showed the concept would work.

Do you have a favourite knitting tip to share?

Try it on, frequently. Measure, frequently. Rip it back if it doesn't fit. It doesn't matter if you have actually bound off, blocked and soaked it. If it doesn't fit, redo it.
I don't understand people showing finished garments and then saying "but it doesn't fit"

Do you have any other crafty hobbies?

I've done sewing, beading, card-making, teddy-bear making, leadlight, and the most
persistent, photography. 

Is there anything you’d never, ever make (or technique you’ll never try)?

I said I'd never make socks. I've not only made a pair, but experimented with a different way of doing the gusset and heel. Never say never. I probably wouldn't knit a triangle shawl, as I wouldn't wear it.

Would you say you are a process or product knitter?   

An experimental one! I like to try different things. I love novel and interesting construction methods. I often buy a pattern just to see how it was done. I like to think I am in charge of my knitting and will push those stitches around so they do what I want.

I have many, many started projects, but few are finished. I think that once I get to that ah-ha moment, I lose interest. Or it could be that I get distracted by the next new thing that catches my eye - ooh, shiny!

What are you working on right now?

Y-heel socks!


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

My interchangeable circular needles.

Who or what is your knitting inspiration or favourite designer?

Each and every one of them. I love seeing how different people approach the same design challenges. If I had to name one, it would be Barbara Walker.

What are you most looking forward to about Unwind or visiting Brighton?

Visiting Brighton is an easy one - it's by the sea!  I would like to explore the historical aspects of a seaside holiday town.

For Unwind, it will be meeting other knitters, which I don't get to do very often, and hopefully inspire them to look at their knitting a little differently, moving away  from "knit four pieces and then seam".

Is there a pattern technique you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t had the chance opportunity / time?
I haven't done much fancy lace, but then, I probably wouldn't wear it. I really would like to explore swing knitting.

A big thank you to Susie Myers for taking the time to share some insight into her knitting world. You can keep up-to-date with Susie’s news over on her blog. Also lots of contiguous chat can be found in the dedicated ravelry group

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