One of the first knitting friends I made through this blog and Twitter, back when knitters were mostly still found on Twitter, was the dynamo known as @izznit or Iz. You may know her on Instagram for her knitting, her wit, her ink, her plants or her adorable dogs; or you may recognize her from the Porter Bin photos. (Her blog is now dormant but not forgotten, and she’s still got best blog header ever.) And yet like always with this Our Tools, Ourselves q&a, I learned some new things about her! And hope you will too.
Thanks so much for doing this, Iz!
. . .
Do you knit, crochet, weave, spin, dye, sew … ?
I’m mostly known as a knitter but I was a sewer first — my love for it is what led to my career in the garment industry (patternmaker turned designer). Once sewing became part of my job, it stopped being a hobby and knitting took over. I crochet on occasion but it’s limited to small projects like baby toys or dishcloths. I do know how to spin, even went so far as shearing my own fleece, but I don’t do it as often as I should. Weaving is on the to-learn list!
Tell us about your tool preferences and peccadilloes.
I’m all about metal interchangeable needles for speed and convenience. I hated knitting at first because of the plastic Aero needles my mom taught me with — the yarn squeaked all the way across and required so much effort to move! I settled on bamboo because it was sold at all the big box stores but during the slouchy hat era, I struggled to find fixed circulars in the length I needed. That’s when I learned about magic loop and the versatility of an interchangeable needle set. I bought a nickel-plated set from Knit Picks and still use it eleven years later — no squeaks! The yarn glides! Now when I teach people to knit I let them know other materials are an option and to not get discouraged if their work isn’t moving easily.
I don’t crochet regularly so my hooks aren’t as curated, they’re just what my Mom passed down years ago. It’s a mix of materials and very incomplete.
I also have a stash of handmade bowls to hold my flat-bottomed, center-pull yarn cakes. I don’t have to worry about setting my yarn on an unclean surface and the added weight prevents the cake from flying when I need to pull.
How do you store or organize your tools? Or do you?
I made my own pouch for my interchangeable needle set because I couldn’t find one that fit my needs (compact, not flappy, and no extra pockets or slots). Loose hooks and needles are in a variety of handmade cups and vases. I think it’s important to be able to see everything at a glance — if things are hidden they won’t be used.
How do you store or organize your works-in-progress?
I have a WIP tray that I lug around the house with projects I work on the most. The ones I work on less go in their own Field Bag and on a shelf. That way if I ever have to bring my knitting somewhere I can grab and go.
Are there any particularly prized possessions amongst your tools?
A hand-turned nostepinne given to me by my university TA. She read I was using toilet paper rolls and spoons to wind, and sent me hers as she had no use for it. Eleven years later, it’s still my favorite thing to wind with. I’ve tried other nostepinnes but they aren’t as comfortable to hold. This was also my first knitting-related act of kindness that’s made me more comfortable with the idea of giving neglected tools away where I know they’ll be loved.
Do you lend your tools?
I don’t because my tool collection is so pared down and only comprised of things I use. I’ve given books and older tools when a friend shows interest, though!
What is your favorite place to knit/sew/spin/dye/whatever?
Most of my making is done at home in the evenings after work, but my favorite place to knit is anywhere on vacation. I love that the FO carries memories of the places it’s been, and it’s a pleasant reminder when worn.
What effect do the seasons have on you?
I don’t think there is any, really. I knit less frequently overall since my last tendonitis flare up. I don’t recall being a seasonal knitter before then either.
Do you have a dark secret, guilty pleasure or odd quirk, where your fiber pursuits are concerned?
I’ll let the readers decide which category this falls under but I will never cut a knot. I will always undo it, even if it takes hours, because I’m scared of being short on a project. That includes joins where the yarn was split and I’d only be saving 2 inches. I also have a fear of my ends coming loose on an FO so I will weave far more than I have to. I used to weave tails up to 10 inches long until I frogged a project and realized the absurdity — now it’s down to 4 inches.
What are you working on right now?
The Midsummer Rose Shawl has been my main focus, but I do have WIPs of varying difficulty around, for when my mood or location requires something less intense. My mom taught me to always finish a project before starting another but I couldn’t follow that for very long.
PREVIOUSLY in Our Tools, Ourselves: Jenny Gordy (Wiksten)
I’d love to know the yarn and pattern for the colorwork swatch.
There are some Instagram posts where she talks about it – the yarn is Woolfolk Tynd and Madelinetosh (seen here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BhUvcGIlBHS/) and the pattern is the Voe pullover.
Iz’s grid is one of my favorites, and I’m giving a shout out to all of us who untie knots instead of snipping the yarn! Waste knot, want not.
(It was a good pun. All y’all should be rolling on the floor in hysterics.)
Great interview as always. And I totally identify with the fear of ends coming out – I always weave in way to much. But funny story to go with the pun above – I hopped over to Iz’s blog to check it out. There is a picture of a beautiful gray cabled sweater, and I looked below it to see what the pattern was and thought “‘Privacy and Cookies’, what a great name for a sweater”. Then I realized I was looking at the little privacy terms box…..
Very inspiring. Thanks for sharing this artist.