Canada 150: MidKnits Q & A
We are proud to be celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary this year and to honor this milestone we created a lookbook with Canadian inspired patterns. Naturally, we thought it would be in true Canadian spirit to collaborate with others in creating some of these patterns. That’s why we asked our fellow Canadian Erin Black, founder of the MidKnits blog to lend a hand. We also got to learn more about Erin; from her journey as a knitter and crocheter to her favorite part about being Canadian, read our interview with her below.
Interview with Midknits
When did you start knitting and crocheting, and what inspired you to start?
My Granny taught me to both knit and crochet when I was quite young. I think I was about 5 or 6 when we worked on our first corking (spool knitting) project together and I remember spending hours trying to get the i-cord long enough to roll up into the size of a pot holder. My Granny also spent many of her vacation hours patiently teaching me to crochet and knit scarves, doll blankets, mittens and any other tiny project I could whip up quickly enough to keep me interested. My Dad has since let it slip that she would stay up long after I had gone to sleep to work on a “few rows” so that my projects always came together fast enough to keep me from getting discouraged.
Since you are both a knitter and a crocheter, what aspects do you love about each craft that differs from one another?
I love the organization and order of knitting, specifically stockinette stitch; Two hands working together, each stitch stacking perfectly into the stitch below and the rhythm of click-clacking needles is definitely my happy place. I find knitting to be a soothing practice that is quite calming for me. Not to say that crochet can’t also be that, but for me, I find crochet to be a more energetic adventure; one hook, working on its own to knot yarns into multi-level stitches full of movement and a little bit of chaos. The stitches always leaning just a little to one side and stacking up to form a sturdy fabric that is just a little off-kilter. (Can you tell that I am a little obsessed with both?!?)
It seems like your kids enjoy the patterns you create, are they learning to knit and crochet?
My daughter has shown some interest over the past couple years, and she has attempted both knit and crochet, but she loses interest in the projects very quickly. I feel like it is going to be one of those long-games where she learns how to do it, then decides that it can’t possibly be “cool” because her “Mum does it”, and then, once she gets older, she has one of those moments where she realizes her Mum is actually super awesome and realizes knitting and crochet are super awesome too. My son, on the other hand, has shown zero interest in learning to do it himself and is much happier to place his order and wait for the finished item.
Are there specific patterns/projects you like to work on for knitting and crocheting?
I love a comfy throw blanket thrown over the back of a chair, and I don’t think it is actually possible for a sofa to have too many throw cushions, so I tend to focus on home products when I am designing my patterns. I actually studied Interior Design in college and have always loved the way that pieces and colours in a space can make you feel so I love to experiment with different textures and colours and forms while I work.
From the patterns you designed for the Canada 150 Lookbook what aspects of Canadian living inspired your designs?
I like to design with a sense of humour and I think that Canadian cliches are some of the funnest, and funniest, parts of being Canadian. We all hunt moose; we are all at least part lumberjack; and we all know that “Eh” can be used emphatically and as a question. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and we like to enjoy life. I thought the best way to celebrate Canada 150 was to embrace these cliches and turn them into wonderful pieces for the home.
Which project from the Canada 150 Lookbook was your favourite to work on and why?
I really love the Croch-Eh! pillow. I get pretty excited over a good pun and the cliche makes me pretty happy too! I also adore the split half double crochet stitch (It looks a lot like the knit stockinette stitch which happens to be my all time favourite stitch,) and the clean graphic nature of the font and pillow fit right into my personal design style.
More patterns designed by MidKnits for the Canada 150 Lookbook below.
What is your favourite part about being Canadian?
Here I can give you two possible answers; the more pragmatic of which is healthcare, but the more appropriate answer is, diversity. I know it’s a cliche (which we have already determined I happen to be fond of,) but having such diverse cultures, people, landscapes and climates, really makes Canada a fantastic place for an artist to live. There is never a lack of inspiration!
What’s your favourite Canadian city and why?
There is something so great about each of them! Between the different landscapes, cultures, museums and art galleries they have to offer, it is impossible to pick just one Canadian city. I can say, my current favourite place to be is the small town I live in, Perth ON. It is a 200-year-old heritage town just outside of Ottawa with gorgeous stone buildings, amazing artisans and community, and the Tay river running right through the middle. It is surrounded by lakes, trees and nature and is, what I consider to be, quintessentially Canadian. It is an awesome place to raise a family and get inspired!