Seattle-based knitter Andi Satterlund is a full-time crafter, as well as an instructor here in Tuts+. Today we catch up with her over a milky tea and chat to her about how she got into knitting, the movies that influence her work, and her favourite craft resources and inspirations.
Q How old were you when you first started knitting?
I started knitting when I was about 13. My parents told me that I needed to find a hobby because I was sitting around watching movies too much, and I petulantly chose knitting because I knew I could do it while indulging in movies. (I was kind of bratty.) I didn’t know any knitters who lived near me so I went out and bought a few books and just dove right in.
QYou also crochet, don't you? How did you get into that?
When I was 17 and in high school, I had a friend who was also a knitter. She was working on a project to make scarves to donate to a shelter for homeless teens, and she learned to crochet because crochet works up so much more quickly. I was making a few scarves for her project, and so she taught me to crochet, too. It was fun struggling along together because neither of us really knew what we were doing at first.
QWhat does an average day in Andi's life look like?
I am a full-time crafter. I typically start my day by drinking a giant mug of tea and catching up on social media. I have a lot of online friends outside of my time zone so I frequently wake up to a big batch of tweets and messages. After that, I like to update my knitting blog, and from there it varies.
Some days I work on knitting a sample. Some days I spend the afternoon writing an article or pattern. Some days I edit photos and work on pattern layouts. The nice thing about my job is that everyday is different. I rarely do the same thing more than two days in a row.
QYou're a big movie buff. Have you ever made an an item of clothing inspired by a character?
Most of my sweaters are more inspired by the atmosphere of movies than characters, but I once knit a cardigan inspired by Penelope from the movie Penelope. It ended up being one of those things that looks better in pictures than in real life because of some fit issues, and remaking it is on my very long list of things to do. Despite fitting strangely when unbuttoned, I feel like it captures the whimsical style of the character.
QDo you knit while watching movies? What are your favourite movies/music/TV shows to knit to?
If I’ve got a movie on, I can almost guarantee that I’ll be knitting! My taste varies from B-horror to period war movies, from light-hearted fantasies to gritty dramas, but my favorite movies and shows to knit to are murder mysteries. I love watching Agatha Christie adaptations, Midsomer Murders, A&E’s Nero Wolfe, Gosford Park, The Thin Man, and so on.
QYou've got a distinctive vintage style. Do you look at old patterns for inspiration? Where else do you find inspiration for crafting?
I tend to watch a lot of period movies ,and that’s really where most of my ideas come from. I also read a few Swedish and Finnish style blogs like Elsa Billgren’s blog, Niotillfem and The Freelancer’s Fashion Blog. I started reading them when I first moved to Washington from California and was struggling to figure out how to make cold weather fashion work for me, and they’re a great source for inspiration for my work.
QWhat's your favourite crafting/movie snack?
Milky tea! I don’t actually snack much when I craft because it gets your hands messy and then your yarn gets dirty, but I always have a big mug of tea by my side.
QWhat other crafters and designers inspire you?
I’m a big fan of Susan Crawford’s work. She’s put out two books of preserved and updated vintage patterns that I adore, and she also has some beautiful original designs that were inspired by vintage styles. When I have time to knit a sweater from another designer’s pattern, I almost always knit a sweater from Susan.
QYou live in Seattle. Is there a strong crafting community there?
Seattle is a knitter’s paradise! Not only is it cool enough to wear woolly knits almost all year long, but it also has tons of yarn shops and knitting groups.
QDo you have any favourite crafting books?
My most used craft book is The Knitter’s Handbook by Montse Stanley. It’s a dull, dry reference book of different techniques, but I find that the instructions are really easy to follow. When I started knitting there weren’t as many online tutorials out there, and I relied on books to learn to knit. I’m still learning from this one, and I’ve been working on trying all of the different techniques in it.
QCan you tell us what's on your desk right now?
The space around my laptop is pretty clear, and I’ve got a jar of pens and crochet hooks and a mug of tea next to my computer. The rest of my desk has been overtaken by yarn and Post-It notes. I have a bad habit of setting partial balls of yarn to the side when I’m done with them as well as half-finished swatches. It’s kind of a chaotic mess.
Thank you, Andi!
You can find Andi's gorgeous knitting patterns and tutorials for Tuts+ here. You can also find Andi on her blog, Untangling Knots, Twitter and Ravelry. You can buy her beautiful vintage-inspired knits from her Etsy shop.
Would you like to learn how to knit? Or knit one of Andi's patterns? Andi shows you how in her tutorials for Tuts+: