We are so excited to kick off our new series of "Meet the Designer" with the wonderful Laura Nelkin. Laura is a creative at heart with an extreme love for knitting. She started knitting in 2004 and was completely smitten with it. She is well known for knitting with beads and finds beautiful ways to incorporate them into her designs. Fancy Tiger Crafts is pleased to be hosting Laura for her Jewelry Knitting class on February 6th. There is still space available so be sure to check it out. In the meantime we'd like you to meet Laura!
1) How did you get started in the knitting industry? What is your background?
Well, I went to Cornell University for Apparel Design and focused on weaving, dyeing and apparel while I was there. A few years after graduating my daughter’s friends’ mom taught me how to knit at a play date, and that was the start of my knitting obsession!
I was lucky enough to have a well-established hand-dye company, Schaefer Yarn, close to my house and worked there for almost 5 years as their design director. I learned a TON about the industry and then it was time for me to strike out independently.
Since then I’ve been busy with e-books, published patterns, Mystery Knit Alongs, Clubs, and a book with Potter Craft (due out Sept 2014). There is definitely no time to be bored around here! I’ve recently turned back to sewing as my “non” work creative outlet… so fun to be back at the machine and making clothes for myself again!
2) You have a wide range of designs from jewelry to garments - do you have a favorite type of project to design? What are you most excited about right now?
I’m pretty much obsessed with cowls right now… I’ve designed a few of them over the last few years, but this winter I’ve been wearing one almost every day! Way less fussy than a scarf, and super fun to knit! Oh, and I’m completely smitten with adding beads to my knitting.
3) What influences you creatively? What is your creative process for coming up with new ideas? What inspires you?
Creativity begets creativity for me… often times while I am working on one thing and it’s into the rote phase (i.e. it’s all figured out I just have to finish knitting it) I find myself deeply in thought considering the next thing I want to create. (It’s almost like a disease….) Sometimes I just have these niggling feelings that I don’t act on, sometimes I have an exact vision of what I MUST make, and sometimes I see something in the wild that sparks a design. What I wait for is the idea to resurface more than once… then I know it is more likely to be successful! Little known fact: if I ever find myself at a loss I just take a shower, normally I have a solution by the time the water turns cold….
I also get a huge amount of creative juice from my students, which is why I love teaching so much! I had no idea that sharing my love of knitting and the techniques I adore would spark such a tremendous connection… it is seriously one of my favorite things to do, and I can’t wait to teach at Fancy Tiger Crafts too!
Well, this isn’t totally an animal, but I am going to go with the Hindu Goddess Parvati… just look at all those arms! (see my answer to #5 below)
5) If you could have any super power, what would it be?
To magically grow more arms… so I can make ALL.THE.THINGS! I really do need more arms to keep up with my ideas!
Thanks Laura! We can't wait to knit jewelry with you!