Carol Feller joins me on the show this week, sharing her journey into knitwear design. Carol Feller (StolenStiches.com) is a designer, teacher, and author living in Cork, Ireland. She has published almost 270 patterns and 7 books, including Short Row Knits (Pottercraft) and Contemporary Irish Knits (Wiley), and is a popular instructor on Craftsy.com with almost 400,000 students. She regularly teaches at yarn shops, fibre festivals, knitting retreats and tours, covering a wide variety of basic and advanced skills including chart reading, garment shaping, short rows, cables, and colourwork. Carol first learned to knit in primary school, and there is a strong history of crafting in her family. In university, she trained as a textile artist, and then as a structural engineer. Both of these backgrounds influence her work, which uses innovative construction methods to create well-shaped and flattering objects that are intuitive and enjoyable to knit, and that make the most out of carefully chosen yarns. She strives to help knitters create beautiful and unique products that they will love to use.
Getting into Knitting
Carol came back to knitting after children, having first learned as a child. In this episode, she mentions how her aunt had imported yarn into Dublin when she was young, and then how she had found her way back into knitting. This Is Knit, a knitting shop in Dublin, played a part in this. Carol first began to experiment with her knitting, before moving into full on designing, with her first published pattern in Knitty coming around a year after she started.
Online Business in the Days of Dial Up
Carol’s first online business was a forum, during the days of dial up Internet, so she has seen platforms and social media apps come and go. Although the first business was not knitting related, she learned a great deal from the experience, which she put into good use in the design business. She credits Ravelry with helping her to get her patterns out into the world initially, although she does host and see patterns, books and yarn through her own site, Stolen Stitches.
Carol shares her knowledge with regards to teaching in this episode, particularly the use of knitalongs to motivate and teach people how to create specific objects. They can be especially useful when the garment has unusual construction, and Carol advocates a phased approach to releasing the clues/pattern so that the slower knitters have more chance to keep up. This staggered release usually means that the more experienced knitters tend to help the newer ones, which means they don’t feel left behind, and everyone has more fun moving through the pattern as a team.
Design as Art and Science
Carol draws upon her background as a textile artist and a structural engineer in creating her designs, which leads to interesting patterns that are fun to knit and great to wear.
Travel and Teaching
Carol travels and teaches worldwide, as well as hosting retreats and workshops more locally with Irish Tourism. She will be hosting retreats in Ireland in 2019, with workshops at her new studio space in Cork.
She is also hosting a number of knitalongs this year for both garments and accessories, with the first one, the Ice Cloud MKAL, starting in January.
Where to find Carol Feller online
Music by Adam and the Walter Boys with ‘I Need a Drink’ available via iTunes.