This week for Knit Nerds, I've managed to get the lovely Kate Heppell who is the editor of Knit Now magazine; Kate has been editing for just over a year but knitting for a good portion of her life. Here she is:
1.How long have you been knitting and who taught you?
I’ve been knitting since I was about 11. There was a project at school to knit a bear to send off to a charity somewhere, so we all had to learn. I was staying with my Nanny Sylvia (my mum’s mum) and Grandma Alice (Sylvia’s mum) at the time, and they take joint credit for the teaching. Grandma Alice should actually take most of the credit for the actual knitting too – I was very very slow so she had to finish my bear for me! After that, I dipped in and out of knitting for a few years but really got going properly when I was at uni, and I’ve not looked back since.
2.What is your favourite thing to knit?
This changes all the time. At the minute, I love stranded knits. I made Kate Davies’ Sheepheid at Christmas and that was so much fun. I’m slightly allergic to sheepy (as in, quite raw and still full of lanolin!) wool though, so that did get in the way of my enjoyment a bit.
3.Who is your biggest knitting inspiration?
I have a huge amount of respect for Woolly Wormhead. She’s a super-talented designer and also a fantastic human being. But when I grow up, I want to be Shannon Okey (of Knitgrrl/Co-op Press/all-round-awesomeness fame).
4.What is your favourite finished object of your own?
I’m really proud of my Batik (Kitman Figueroa), which I knit in some gorgeous Dream in Colour yarn that I picked up at iKnit London. I’m usually a bit of a slob with my knitting, but for this one I forced myself to rip back and fix any mistakes and I’m so glad that I did because it’s absolutely perfect. I loved it because it’s knit bottom-up, so you start with the long rows (when your enthusiasm is at its peak) and the rows keep getting shorter and shorter, faster and faster!
On the other hand, the FO which sees the most wear is probably my Everglade (Woolly Wormhead). It’s knit in Sirdar Escape DK which is completely indestructible, it’s worn and worn for years and is still perfect. I love the way the leaves gradually get smaller up to the crown, such a clever design – and it was part of one of Woolly’s Mystery KALs, so watching it grow without knowing how it would turn out was loads of fun.
5.What inspired you to become the Editor of Knit Now magazine?
I was in a relatively boring job in communications in the NHS when I was contacted by Practical Publishing and asked to send in my CV. I didn’t think I stood much of a chance, but I was really passionate about knitting, and writing – and pretty organised – so I gave it my best shot. Two telephone interviews and one (very long!) face-to-face interview later, and I was offered the job. That was just over a year ago now, and I’ve not looked back. I do have a lot of respect for some of the other magazines on the market, but I think there’s room for something younger and fresher.
I’ve never been much of a garment knitter myself, so the concept of Knit Now, being all about small, quick knits is perfect for me. Mostly because I’m a yarn snob and I can’t often afford a whole me-sized jumper in the yarns I want to knit with – but I can easily manage a shawl or a pair of socks. I also love that this job gives me the opportunity to promote up-and-coming designers and independent yarn producers.
6.If you could give 3 pieces of knitting advice, what would they be?
Find a knitting group that suits you. Honestly, it’ll be the best thing you’ll ever do.
Nothing is ever as difficult as you think it’s going to be. So many people are scared of lace, or cables, or colourwork and really, it’s all just a matter of taking it stitch by stitch and not rushing yourself.
Invest in good, well-written patterns. Particularly for beginners, a poorly-written pattern can be the thing that stands between you and your FO.
Kate is giving away a copy of the latest Knit Now magazine as well as some yummy yarn, to win these prizes all you have to do is leave a little comment - PLEASE PLEASE leave your ravelry name or email address so I can contact you for your details.
You can find Kate as kathleenalice on Ravelry.