We were so thrilled to have Debbie Bliss join us recently for our 10 year anniversary party at This Is Knit. We got to hear about her creative process, her most recent yarns and patterns, and what we can expect in the coming new year. She was kind enough to sit down and answer some questions in this interview, for all of those who weren’t at the event, and want to know a bit more about this icon in the craft community!
Firstly, we’d like to thank you so much for taking a few moments for an interview with us, it was such a pleasure hearing you speak at the This Is Knit Anniversary party!
It was an absolute pleasure to be invited to be part of your celebrations!
Q: What would you say is your main source of inspiration when designing a new yarn?
A: Normally I will see a yarn at Pitti Filatti, the trade show in Florence that I go to twice a year . If it is already perfect as with Lhasa, it will go into the ranges as it is but I may feel after swatching that a yarn can be improved by altering the blend. Or sometimes I will be approached by a company such as Laxtons, who introduced me to Falkland Aran, a beautiful pure wool from the Falkland Islands which is spun in Yorkshire.
Q: Does your creative process often start with colourway or fibre choices?
A: When it is a book of designs rather single leaflets I will be looking at a collection that includes a variety of styles, different skill levels and a harmonizing colour palette.
Q: How much does modern fashion trends influence your design choices? Do you look more to current trends, or to the past for inspiration?
A: I love to research trends and keep up to date with current and future looks. This doesnâ€™t mean that I will follow slavishly what is appearing on the catwalks but it interests me to see what shapes or textures are coming through and how I may want to interpret this in my own collections.
Q: Currently, what is your favourite trend in knitwear?
A: I love the way that ready to wear knits have adopted a very strong hand knit look, with textures traveling in different directions, vertical and horizontal cables for example, or a patchwork of texture.
Q: Your favourite fibre to work with?
A: At the moment I am really enjoying working with Lhasa, a cashmere/yak blend which is part of my Pure Bliss Collection. It is incredibly soft but still has great stitch definition.
Q: What would you say is the biggest challenge you face when designing a new pattern?
A: I think it is trying to balance and incorporate all the elements that I think are important, style combined with wearability, creating silhouettes that are flattering to women, thinking about how the yarn behaves. All of this and then making sure that the design/pattern still works in all the sizes!
Q: What is your creative process for choosing colourways for a new yarn?
A: When it is a new yarn I am always lead by the â€œstoryâ€ it tells me, a silk blend may call for bright vivid colours, or a soft cotton ice cream pastels.
Q: Which pattern would you say is an essential knit for babies/children?
A: A simple, classic cardigan.
Q: What is your earliest memory of knitting, and did you feel in that moment that you had found your calling?
A: My mother knitting me a school cardigan in a virulent bright blue. It came out before the start of every Autumn term and went straight back in the bag again after a few knitting sessions.
Q: If you were stranded on an island and you could only choose one yarn to take with you, which would it be? (If weather weren’t a factor)
A: My new Spring 2017 yarn Sita.
Q: If your dogs could speak, what would they divulge about your yarn stash and/or knitting habits?
A: They wouldnâ€™t, they are very loyal!
Q: Currently, what is your favourite TV show to knit to?
A: The Vikings ( Netflix)
Q: And finally: do you have any hints as to what we can expect from Debbie Bliss in the coming year?
A: New downloadable toy patterns are launched this week in time for Xmas! A beautiful mako cotton/silk Spring yarn will arrive in shops in January and if knitters follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter I will keep them up to date on all our news!
Many thanks again to the lovely Debbie!