Monday, 25 February 2013

Alison//Knit Nerds

So it's been a few weeks since I last posted a knit nerd; this week I have the lovely Alison of Tales from an Old Stone House, Alison knits the most beautiful shawls and has also started spinning her own yarn. Alison can be found over on Ravelry as AliInPerth, so here she is:

1. How long have you been knitting/crocheting and who taught you?
I suppose that depends when you start counting. I learned to knit the first time when I was seven years old. My mother taught me and thought it would be really cute for me to make a bonnet for a new cousin. So I learned basic skills and knit the little hat. My mum sewed it up and put the ribbon ties on it. I can’t really remember what colour it was (yellow? With a white fleck in the yarn?), but I remember it being a very simple thing. If we count from here that puts it at 35 years.
I knit sporadically after that, but never for a long stretch of time. I remember doing a vest when I was in my teens. We had just moved and this was something creative to keep my hands busy. I completed the vest and didn’t knit anything after that. Until I was pregnant. All of a sudden I wanted to knit for my baby and when I found myself unemployed – well; it certainly helped to pass the time. Problem was, it had been so long since I had done any knitting so I bought a small booklet called “How to Knit”and a ball of cotton and knit squares and ripped them out and knit them again. Then I knit a little tiny baseball style sweater, then a sweater for me, then one for my husband and I've been knitting pretty constantly ever since. If we count from here, it’s 12 years which is a more realistic number.
 2. What is your favourite yarny thing to make?
Socks. I’m happy to knit just about anything, but I like the instant gratification of socks.
I’m also a very new spinner. I learned to spin two years ago with a drop spindle and about a year ago I learned to use a wheel. I can see this leading me way down a
garden path of fleece preparation and dying. But for now, I’m just working on being a better spinner.
 3. Who is your biggest yarny inspiration?
In terms of garment construction and pattern reading I think I have to say Elizabeth Zimmermann. The first time I read “Knitting Without Tears” was a revelation. I like her chatty style and like the idea of using a pattern as a rough guideline rather than a rigid set of rules.
In terms of colour, it’s Felicia Lo from SweetGeorgia Yarns. I've never seen a colour from her studio I didn't like.
 4. What is your favourite completed object?
My favourite completed object is my newly finished scarf called Pirouette. This is a heavily modified design so I think of it as mine. It’s also the first time I've used beads in a knitting project. I love the sparkle and glamour the beads give to what is essentially a very plain scarf.
 5. What inspired you to start your blog?
I was inspired to start the blog by two things. I like to write, and I wanted a forum to show off my knitting to people who would appreciate it. I have a Facebook page though I rarely update it and frankly, a great number of my friends aren't much interested in my knitting, spinning or garden – the primary topics on my blog. I’m slowly expanded my reader base and always happy to have more people stop by to see what I’m working on.
 6. If you could give 3 pieces of yarny advice, what would they be?
1. There is no such thing as a‘hard’ pattern. All knitting, no matter how complicated it appears is made up of knit, purl, increases and decreases and variations on those four items. Nothing else.
2. If you discover a mistake in your work, correct it as soon as you find it. I figure if you’re going to put this much effort into something, do it right.
3. Swatch, swatch, swatch. Many people are so eager to cast on and start knitting their new item but for something large such as a sweater, you will want to know how the yarn feels in your hands and on the needles. You’ll want to see the drape of the fabric, the density and if it really looks how you want it to.
Oh – and wash the swatch the same way you plan to wash the finished item. Make sure you like how it looks after its been washed.
Such a lovely interview from a lovely lady; I've only known Alison for a short time through Ravelry but she's so nice and really kind. Go over to her blog or her ravelry page and say hi!!!
If you want to be a knit nerd, contact me as knittingv on ravelry and I'll drop you an email.
V xo


  1. Thanks for the opportunity to be Knit Nerd Vicki! This was fun. ~~Alison

  2. I came to learn more about my friend Aliln and this interview was just great! What an accomplished and articulate knitter, spinner and gardener! Those Facebook friends don't know what's good!

  3. It is always nice to hear from fellow spinners! Thanks for the chance to get to know another person in our fantastic community. I hope you are well!