It was such an honor to interview Mary from Lyrical Knits. She combines her love of music (she’s a professional singer and a science instructor) with her love of yarn to create beautiful, feminine sweaters that are perfect for dressing up or wearing every day.
1. When/how did you learn to knit?
I remember learning to knit as a little kid: My mother used to make these little Christmas Bells that we would pin to our winter coats during the holidays. Mom knits English style, and I never got the hang of it, so I did a little crocheting instead. Eventually, I picked up knitting again but threaded the yarn in my left hand as I would to crochet–this made knitting SO much easier for me and improved my tension a lot. When I was in college, I really, really wanted an Icelandic Lopi style sweater but couldn’t afford a ready-made one. So I saved up to buy some yarn and a pattern….but forgot to get needles. I had to practice on chopsticks until I could afford to go back to the LYS for needles!
2. How did you get into designing?
Two reasons: 1. I couldn’t find sweater patterns that were the exact style and fit that I wanted, and 2. I am pretty much incapable of following a pattern without changing it all around. I think it was back in 2010 when others on Ravelry kept
pestering encouraging me to start writing up what was coming off my needles.
3. What about the craft do you find most rewarding?
As far as knitting itself goes, I love the feel of the fabric and yarn in my hands. For designing, it’s so incredibly satisfying to see others knitting up garments and accessories that they love and wear.
4. Are there any aspects of yarn-crafting that you avoid?
I avoid seaming if I can–I don’t enjoy it at all, but if it makes more sense to have some aspect of a garment or shawl seamed, I’ll do it. Also, I don’t weave or spin. Spinning actually looks like it would be fun to try, but I figure that I don’t need another fiber addiction!
5. Is there one knitting/designing tip someone has given you that has stuck with you?
For knitting: Elizabeth Zimmerman’s saying, “I am boss of my knitting.” For designing: Stay in your own lane; don’t compare yourself to others; and just because something is easy to one person doesn’t mean that it’s easy for anyone else, so explain things as best you can.
6. What skill would you still like to learn?
I’ve never given two color brioche a try (mostly because I just haven’t had time to design with it yet).
7. What/who is your greatest source of inspiration?
For knitting and designing: Elizabeth Zimmerman, who changed my knitting life by introducing me to working more than just round yoke sweaters in the round; Barbara Walker, who turned my sweater perspective on it’s head by introducing me to top-down sweater construction; and The Techknitter–she’s slowed her blog down a lot over the years, but her interest in the physics of knitting and how to both play with and counteract the natural tendencies of knits and purls is incredibly fascinating and helpful! Some more current inspiring designers are Woolly Wormhead (love her unique hat construction), Xandy Peters (for their incredible experimentation with brioche and stacked stitches), and Caitlin Hunter (her colorwork is incredibly inspiring).
8. If you could have a yarn superpower, what would it be? (Sewing in ends with the snap of your fingers, all your math always works out perfectly…you name it!)
Haaaa! I would love for all of my designs to work out as perfectly the very first time they’re on the needles as they do on paper, haha! But that rarely happens–I always need to change something up or make adjustments, even if it’s a plain stockinette sweater.
Thank you, Mary! Check out some of her gorgeous designs:
Disclaimer: Some patterns from designers I feature will be free, others will be paid. I am not affiliated with them nor do I make any commission if you purchase a pattern. My goal is simply to help you find your best next pattern while supporting other designers in this maker community.