If there’s one knitter who truly bowls me over with her output, it’s German knitter Isabell Kraemer (aka Isa K. on her blog, Grasflecken; lilalu at Ravelry). When she recently showed multiple sweaters in a blog post (not an uncommon occurrence), I decided to finally email her the questions that I’m always asking her in my head. She kindly responded —
How long have you been a knitter, and how much time do you get to spend knitting?
My Grandma tried to teach me, when I was about 15. She tried — and failed!!! She never took a second attempt! So, a few years later I had to teach myself and learned knitting from old knitting books.
I spend quite a lot of time with my knitting or knitting related things. I don’t think that there’s a day without knitting. I work at an arts and crafts shop and I have the pleasure to be allowed to knit at work if time permits. Lucky me.
You finish so many sweaters that you sometimes feature more than one in a single blog post. I’m so envious. How are you able to knit so many sweaters? How long (on average) does it take you to knit one?
Depends on the sweater itself, the construction, the yarn, the needle size … think I need 1 to 3 weeks to finish a sweater for me. (Please keep in mind that I am tiny! My sweaters aren’t that much work!) And I always have more than one sweater on my needles, so sometimes 1 or 2 or even 3 sweaters come off my needles at the same time.
It seems like a lot of your sweaters are test knits for various independent designers. How and when did you get into test knitting? What drives you to do so much of it?
Oh, I don’t know when I did the first testknit, think this was by accident. Sometimes designers announce
a testknit on their [Ravelry] project pages/blogs — maybe I read one and messaged the designer?
The main intention was to learn — new techniques, new construction ways, and so on. Through the time some designers got to be friends and we are in touch from time to time. They know, I’m always happy to help my lovelies. So it could be that I discover more than 2 new designs to be tested in my inbox. Sometimes I get asked to testknit after I’ve left a comment to a new garment, which makes me feel extremely honoured.
The coolest thing about testknitting is that I have absolutely new stuff on my needles, just looove this :) It’s great to be part of the working process. Every designer is different, some only need a second eye for typos or wordings — though I am not the best when it comes to good English (hahaha!) — and some designs need corrections in numbers, dimensions etc. And a good way to encounter such thing is to let a design go through testknitting. I do so with my own designs and cannot thank enough my testknitters for their outstanding work with me and my awfully bad maths skills.
What’s your favorite kind of sweater to make?
I love top-down knitting, so most sweaters I knit are seamless, though I don’t mind seaming. But of course, I love being able to put them on while knitting and see how they fit. I don’t have a favorite yarn weight, but I think I enjoy knitting most with 4 to 5 mm [US 6 to 8] needles. I love fingering weight sweaters to wear! But I hardly can stand knitting with tiny needles.
Do you have a favorite designer?
Thanks so much, Isa!